That’s the headline on a great survey of the energy scene today at the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog.
The economy is by far the No. 1 issue on most Americans’ minds. Gas prices are a close second. The two issues are intimately related. But the spike in oil prices this year is just the tip of the iceberg. Due to similar developments in supply and demand, electricity prices are set to skyrocket next year.
While American oil consumption has grown only 15% since 1973, electricity use has shot up 115%. Right now the U.S. has 760 gigawatts of power to meet consumption. We will need 135 gigawatts of new capacity over the next decade to keep the lights on, but right now only 57 gigawatts of power are planned. No matter what Barack Obama and Al Gore tell you, alternative energy sources cannot meet demand. Solar is still only one-tenth as efficient as the cheapest fossil fuels. Today 97% of our electricity comes from fossil fuels, nuclear and hydro power. Wind provides 1% and solar .01%.
The rest of the world knows that green sources of energy are inadequate to keep their people out of poverty. That is why around the world, from Europe to South America to Asia, countries are building coal and nuclear power plants at a dizzying pace while also drilling for oil wherever they can find it. Meanwhile, the United States, crippled by an out-of-control environmental movement, is refusing to develop needed energy sources.
A run-down follows on oil, coal, nuclear power. Very good bit of bracing reality.
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