This I Believe

Dave - Marlborough, Massachusetts
Entered on June 26, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: environment

I believe that is it not only possible, but imperative that the United States achieves energy independence by July 4, 2026; the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the signing of Declaration of Independence. When President John Kennedy set a goal to reach the moon, he said because it was hard. We need to achieve energy independence because it is hard, and it is necessary.

The energy crisis we faced in late 1970s was from OPEC’s oil embargo. In this new global society, energy has become a global commodity that is no longer a surplus. President Bush said in the last state of the Union: “Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.” Since 2001, the price of a barrel of oil has almost tripled. A Renewable Energy infrastructure is a legacy for future generations. The lifespan of Renewable energy sites can far exceed the lifespan of oil or gas wells. Achieving energy independence would reduce, and eventually eliminate all imported oil and natural gas. The first step reduces the use in the generation of electricity through wind farms off the horizon and solar collectors in deserts to generate electricity and send it back to our cities.

The United States imports more and more of our energy, but some regions are more dependant than others. New England has been importing energy into the region for over 150 years, but our region can no longer afford to outsource its energy needs. New England spends $6 billion a year on electricity alone, almost all of it generated with imported fuels. Like our water supply, energy is best sourced locally instead of imported.

A Technology Review article reviewed how a wind-power initiative in Spain has had a positive impact on the local economy as well as reducing their reliance on imported fuels. Reports by MIT and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative on off-shore wind energy resources have documented incredible energy potential from windmills located just over the horizon can provide steady, renewable energy and significantly reduce the demand of coal gas and oil for electrical generation.

The political and economic landscape centered on renewable energy has changed significantly since Cape Wind was proposed in October 2001. Windmills are becoming destinations for field trips from local schools. The towns of Princeton and Hull are replacing wind mills with significantly larger models, and other projects in other states are also coming on-line, with little protest. New wind farms have recently been proposed for Buzzard’s Bay and off the coast of Hull.

The age of cheap energy is over. Global demand for energy exceeds production, and carbon-fuels pollute the air we breathe. There is an alternative. New England would benefit the most in the transition to energy independence, and the sooner the better. Our future legacy can be a transition away from imported energy to renewable energy. America’s Energy Independence, and a New Revolution, must begin here, now.