The United States is a very long way from being independent on foreign oil. But we cannot establish independence without taking the first step. There are many options available to us. But, we cannot take a single option approach. To borrow an investing term – diversify.
The obvious first option is the one that makes people cringe – nuclear power. But the fact is that nuclear power is very safe. And, it provides a huge return. The same people who tell you that organic fuel consumption is causing global warming are the same people that are against it (and many of the other options). Do your homework and find more about it. Here’s a link with simplified explanations of the science, the safety, and the value.
Next, is ethanol. We’ve all heard about it – corn to fuel. Being new to living in a place that actually has winter, I’ve heard the complaining about the price of corn (which is used for heating here) going up. Corn converts very nicely to ethanol. But, there are other ways to make fuel from crops. Sugar (beets) can be converted to 2,5-dimethyl furan – a liquid fuel which has a lot more energy value than ethanol. Read about it here.
Making oil from coal is an option that should excite many of us – especially in Michigan. Coal is successfully being converted to an oil that can be refined to produce gasoline and diesel fuel. I’ve read about it many places. You can read it here.
Some technologies are a little different like Concentrating Solar Power. Solar panels are used to transfer energy from the sun into a liquid. The liquid expands and turns a turbine – generating electricity. Obviously, this requires a lot of sunlight (think Mojave Desert). Investing in this technology probably means investing in infrastructure too (not necessarily a bad thing).
Be realistic, we will still need petroleum to make the parts for our cars, the freon for our air conditioning, the materials for our homes. Some of the alternate energy options aren’t drop in solutions. But, investing in research for these technologies (akin to the value we get from space exploration) will reduce our need on foreign oil.
I’ve watched all the major Republican debates. And, Mike Huckabee is the only one to promise independence. Another reason to make him Forty Four.