America is waking up to the energy and environmental problems we are facing. If the US is to break free from our reliance on foreign oil and fossil fuels, two trends must continue to gain momentum:
The simplest way to undo our reliance on fossil fuels is to shift our consumption toward other resources. Though several options exist, many are not as economical as traditional power production (i.e. coal). The focus of the last few decades has been on developing more efficient and sustainable means of producing energy. In particular, technology has emphasized renewable resources that are naturally replenished and inexhaustible. Of the available technologies, wind and solar are best known, but as the chart below reflects, wind is projected to be the way of the future. With the multitude of coastal zones and flat lands available to the US, wind energy will become an ever growing part of our energy economy. Key advancements in technology must come first, allowing us to better convert wind to energy as well as transfer and utilize that energy throughout the power grid.
Secondly, we cannot simply rely on new power sources as a solution. In conjunction to renewable energy, we as a people need to accept that we have a role to play in the future of our energy economy. The average American does not realize that simple and comfortable changes in habits can result in significant conservation of resources. The fact is you don’t have to drastically alter your lifestyle in order to make a difference; doing your part is easier than you may expect, and the energy conserved by each of us will add up.