Alternative energy, now, cannot be any more obvious.

Jumping oil costs, the global struggle out the Great Recession, and the wake of unrest in the Middle East has presented a swift reality slap, and hopefully the last one, that the United States should pursue alternative, clean, and renewable energy with a sense of urgency. Not just for the sake of U.S. energy independence, but also to anticipate the long-term trend of U.S. competitiveness.

Cornfield

Globally, people need to realize that oil prices are going nowhere but up. Unfortunately, I feel that a majority solutions here in U.S. are so short sighted that people are only looking for ways to lower gasoline prices or make gasoline more affordable. What’s the best way to lower gasoline prices? Should we tap into national reserves? Should I buy a car 10 MPG more efficient? Answering these questions is not critical, but rather our inquiries are more relevant regarding the long-term.

Green energy proposals and technology have been around for years and the entire world knows that the green energy industry will supersede current fossil fuel standards, but why hasn’t the U.S. taken any initiative to really incite this industry? Gasoline has just been too “affordable” across the U.S. too put any sort of demand for anything else. In fact, in my opinion and I digress, this a contributor to why the U.S. has neglected its overall infrastructure.

Nonetheless, I do not want to discredit the U.S. completely and suggest the U.S. hasn’t at all invested in alternative energy, but certainly not as much as the U.S. should be. Many countries took the oil crisis of the 1970s as a signal to make alternative energy a priority. Denmark, for example, in 1979 began to take an active role in developing it nascent wind industry. In 1973, 90% of the energy in Denmark was generated from imported petroleum. The Danish government implemented a wide range of programs and subsidies to nurture its wind industry and up until now, one out of every three wind turbine is made and sold in Denmark generating billions of dollars in exports and has become the world leader in wind power.

Additionally, Japan is one of the leaders in implemented energy efficiency. Also, Pew Environment Group reports that China has surpassed the United States in green energy investments. Chinese private investments stated at $34.6 billion in 2009, which is double what U.S.’s investments are in green energy. Regrettably, this doesn’t put the U.S. leadership position.

The debate into tapping national oil reserves and drilling for more oil in the U.S. to ease oil prices is just not the answer. Again, this focuses too much effort in keeping prices low. Granted, Americans are experiencing much discontent in paying a high price for gasoline, but the real engine for this industry is consumer demand. It is the price signal in the price for gasoline that will drive the demand for alternative energy. Even from a neoliberalist perspective, they would recommend a tax on gasoline to accentuate this price signal. If the U.S. were to tap oil reserves and drill domestically for oil, this would only undermine prices signals and the progress towards alternative energy. Consequently, this would only put the U.S. further behind as far as competition goes in the long-run while other countries will continue to grow their market share in the green energy industry.

The answer lies in nurturing the alternative and renewable energy industry now, not just for the sake our economy’s future but our planet’s as well.

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~ by Roger Sutton on March 6, 2011.

One Response to “Alternative energy, now, cannot be any more obvious.”

  1. […] summing up my exact stance on our imperative need for alternative energy. I wrote a recent entry, Alternative energy, now, cannot be any more obvious, that also give further insight to really spurring the next generation energy industry. Not only […]

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