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THE QUESTION

What does it mean to be energy independent?

On Wednesday, President Obama will announce a new energy strategy that includes offshore drilling.

What does it mean for a nation to be energy independent? Is it realistic and if so how should that be achieved?

Posted by Washington Post Editor on March 31, 2010 6:00 AM
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ALL COMMENTS (24)
IMSlew Author Profile Page :
 

Please give this site a quick read. World Bank has put this program together in order to get international feed back on the worlds most pressing issues. EVOKE episode 2 (Power Shift) deals with alternative forms of energy.

http://www.urgentevoke.com

 
jrubin1 Author Profile Page :
 

I surely not going to purely pessimistic, but I would say that energy independence has nothing to do with self sustainability.

We are on a direct course without our ability to change the outcome. Like the various vertebrates that are being lost each day, we will be part of that group.

I could never predict now the timing, just like the obsession we have with when the dinosaurs were extinguished, we will have our time.

It may not be related totally to the present climate change debate, it would be related to the basic premise we want to much and the earth cannot give us all that we think we need.

 
kesac Author Profile Page :
 

We are going to have to burn enormous amounts of oil to wean ourselves from oil.
All of you who think photovoltaics for your home, or wind is the answer, you just go ahead and do it. Don't tell me that you have to wait for some "bad corporation" to make it available to you.
We have started half a dozen nuclear plants since the 70s and shut eachand everyone of them down after expenditures of hundreds of millions of dollars, with never a watt of power produced by any of them. That situation will not cure itself in the near future.
Electric cars? If one out of 4 persons in any urban area rushed home after work and plugged in his vehicle to charge, at the same time all the home airconditioners, ranges and appliances get their peak time workout, that will be the end of that, too.
Every alternative out there will cost more and require compromises that the Americn public is not yet readdy to make.

 
boblesch Author Profile Page :
 

this could be so easy if the whole truth was laid out in full to the entire country. w/o the full backing of the people - it cannot work.

yet, if the media continues to allow itself to be used to brainwash the public with lies about safe long term use of nuclear and fossil fuel based energy systems, we'll never be able to make the transition to renewables due to lack of public support.

a simple change of just ONE law relating to the government's purchasing policy of electricity , coupled with a change in the IRS rebate/credit/depreciation policy for renewables and we can become a nation running off electricity collected from the sun, wind and moving water 100% of the time.

here's how it would work - government buys all the electricity collected from renewable sources @ $.22/kwh when, and only when, it reaches the grid. couple this with ending the current IRS energy rebate/credit/depreciation nightmare to pay for it.

the government saves lots of $ while incentivizing private investment in the upgrading and expansion of the grid to prime rural collection sites in the southwest and midwest as well as the nation's river system. the more efficient the collection and delivery systems become, ROI time shortens making the endeavor more inviting for investors and entrepeneurs - large and small.

and without raising taxes - tax reveues will increase and lots of folks get jobs and training in the private sector.

the big problem - how does one get past the current army of lobbyists from oil, nuclear, coal, corn(yes - corn), accounting and law, who will line up in full force with the government officials they have in their pockets to block it???

the technology and brainpower exists. look - if a 22 year old air force specialist, sitting at a high teck 'playstation' outside albuquerque can blow up a real life target outside bahgdad w/o ever leaving his desk chair, changing to 100% renewables in THIS decade is easily w/i reach if we change our priorities and resources to developing a true peacetime economy.

 
fishprojack Author Profile Page :
 

We have possibly the largest oil reserve still to be tapped in the world centered in the Montana area.

 
citizen625 Author Profile Page :
 

Nuclear power is NOT the answer unless you have socialist government supports to make it affordable. Oil companies and the status quo don't want to support the notion that every house and business can have building integrated photovoltaics and hot water heat. Americans are too lazy and too intellectually narrow to examine their options RIGHT NOW available. 80% of our petroleum is used for transportation. We used to have electric railroads and electrified street car lines until Firestone, GM and others bought them and destroyed them. Socialist big businesses don't like competition.

 
John_D Author Profile Page :
 

Energy independence is a lot easier if you take Canada into the picture. Canada - already the largest oil supplier to the US - has the world's second largest reserves, not far behind Saudi Arabia. Canada is also the closest long-time ally of the US, right up there with Britain. And Canada is by far the largest customer for US goods and services, buying more than Japan and China combined. In terms of trade balance and security of supply, oil from Canada is pretty much equivalent to oil from the USA itself.

 
ggrant9170 Author Profile Page :
 

Even if our country can never ever become truly energy independent that does not mean we do nothing to make efforts to become less energy dependent. Solar/Wind/Natural Gas and other forms of energy infrastructure will not only make a more energy independent but cleaner country! Go for the Gold! I have hear comments like "those wind towers are ugly" well my reply is, they are a whole lot prettier than flagged drapped coffins coming home from foreign energy rich countries!

 
citizen625 Author Profile Page :
 

Nuclear power is NOT the answer unless you have socialist government supports to make it affordable. Oil companies and the status quo don't want to support the notion that every house and business can have building integrated photovoltaics and hot water heat. Americans are too lazy and too intellectually narrow to examine their options RIGHT NOW available. 80% of our petroleum is used for transportation. We used to have electric railroads and electrified street car lines until Firestone, GM and others bought them and destroyed them. Socialist big businesses don't like competition.

 
mgbgt95 Author Profile Page :
 

an increasing population cannot produce or consume its way out of energy independence.

Efficiencies such as the 93% Passive House, that can be heated by a toaster or ones own body heat, would be the equivalent of producing 25% more oil for the UnitedStates.

 
uzs106 Author Profile Page :
 

Is Energy independence necessary? The US can allways steal it. What an isolationism.

 
uzs106 Author Profile Page :
 

Is Energy independence necessary? The US can allways steal it. What an isolationism.

 
vonmilla Author Profile Page :
 

Oil-dependent? Maybe we're looking through the wrong end of the telescope. By my reckoning, OPEC is cash-dependent. Most of its nations have nothing but petroleum to sell. Perhaps the major consumers of petroleum should form an "OPPC," i.e. "Organization of Petroleum Purchasing Countries." Yes, we need oil, but OPEC needs us at least as much as we need it.

 
sknoll2 Author Profile Page :
 

Of course we can achieve energy independence. Energy is all around us. The universe consists almost entirely of energy. There is no energy shortage. There is an imagination shortage. And this is America. We used to be able to do anything. We still can if we make half an effort.

 
dnjake Author Profile Page :
 

Those who imagine that our current trade deficits can go on forever are living in a world of fantasy. Those who believe they understand the technology we will use twenty or thirty years in the future are fools. We are not going to solve our problems with the Chinese or change our consumption of energy tomorrow. But it is certainly time that we recongize the need for a different kind of future and start working on it.

 
hipshot Author Profile Page :
 

Forty years from now our population will be 100,000,000 larger and we will be slightly more efficient but using more oil. And I can guarantee that you will have a like panel of experts weighing in saying the same things but not willing to address the main issue driving our population growth and energy consumption growth. How do I know? We had the same thing forty years ago!

 
harmon45 Author Profile Page :
 

Of course its realistic Brazil 90% is energy independent and soon it will be 100%. Been energy independent means that we will keep the 400 billion a year that we send oversseas, to spend at home!!! Means that we do not have to put up with
America haters like Chavez and Others!!!!
means more jobs for American and not for
for countries overseas!!!!

 
jayrkay Author Profile Page :
 

The First and fore most the americans have to learn is turning off Home lights when not needed- do not have to rely on automated methods. Energy independence is not a unreachable goal. The home grown energy is acheived when most house-holds try simple techniques.

I agree in this day and age, each country should conserve their needs.Wastage is the major cause. Don't propose green movement if you waste- whether be food,energy and even our environment

 
carlbatey Author Profile Page :
 

Nuclear power is the only real solution. Things like ethanol, solar and wind nothing but an overpriced fraud.

 
onlooker2 Author Profile Page :
 

What does it mean to be energy independent?

Go back to the middle of the 20th Century and you have your answer. We were independent.

The World consumption was much less then, as was our domestic usage. Energy short fall now is oil. It will be in natural gas and coal at some point in the future. Solar, nuclear, ocean, wind, and heat from the depth of the earth are the constants. Hydrogen is unproven as to the effects of additional water vapor increases in the atmosphere.

Mass Rapid Transit, MRT, works in many countries but is a problem with us because of our size and our inability to address the problem. At some time the World will run out of oil and natural gas. It may be that the World population will be restructured at that time to adjust to the shortfall.

Petroleum is key and critical to food production and transportation. If a short fall occurs, it will have dramatic impact upon the food supply and stability.

 
mmaher29 Author Profile Page :
 

There is no energy problem. What we have is an oil problem - in ten years it will be an oil and gas problem. What to do to reduce the problem? Change the private auto's dependence on oil to electricity and in the future to disassociated water (hydrogen). Easier said than done, but not impossible.

 
DwightCollins Author Profile Page :
 

being energy independent means being able to bomb chavez's oil production facilities and not caring...

 
yousufhashmi1 Author Profile Page :
 

I think energy independence is not meant by meeting the demand by domestic production but instead having an arrangement where the energy demand can be balanced by continuous, uninterrupted supply with out any political pressure.

Of course it can be achieved. If nations can ensure their food supply, raw material defense needs then why not energy.

 
ThurleMoss Author Profile Page :
 

Today's Dilbert provides the answer. The evil director of human resourses says: "Leadership is the art or trading imaginary things in the future for real things tiday." Obamacare promises changes in 2014 to get it passed in 2010. This promise of drilling at some time in the future is a way to get "Cap and Tfrade passed now.

 
 
 
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