Wednesday, April 25, 2012

America's Energy Future: Plan to Wait

One polemicist after another will bring up America’s energy independence as a goal for their ideal future. Republicans call for more domestic sourcing of fossil fuels, while Democrats seek the government to provide funding for green-tech. With the gridlock that has gripped Congress in this latest session, it is not hard to imagine no policies being passed that would address either of the two possible energy futures for America. While the middle road may seem simple to the non-politician, the political ramifications for either path diverge greatly. Republicans can point to the fiscal harm that green-tech would do the health of the U.S. as well the perils of pursuing unproven technology. Doing nothing- current trends in domestic natural gas and crude production will allow the U.S. to become energy independent by 2020. Even so, the Democrats argue that the environmental and sustainability concerns of utilizing that fuel are too great. Pursing both at once is probably contradictory, considering private investment will flow into proven technology unless significantly incentivized through government subsidies. Will the Republicans sacrifice their economic platform and the fiscal stability of the U.S. for the Democrats’ gamble on renewable energy technology?

1 comment:

  1. I agree that this will likely remain gridlocked until it is addressed by the private sector. The current focus of the country is on the economy. Creating new programs to fund additional energy research as the Democrats want is not a key issue to the average voter. Similarly, the Democrats seem unlikely to move away from their environmental position to compromise with the Republicans. These facts alone seem to point to stalemate, but with the projection of energy independence by 2020 the issue really seems to lose its urgency. The free market and technological innovations seem to be leading the country naturally down a path toward renewable and clean energy generation, but for now it is more profitable to use proven fossil fuel technology. While additional funding towards alternative energy in the past could have been politically viable and would have certainly allowed our country to be energy independent much faster (and when the economy is back on track, serious investments in research and infrastructure should be made), it is not the right time any more to implement it.