Most presidential candidates are talking about an energy independence plan that revolves around a 20-40% reduction in foreign oil consumption by 2020... This is a fancy way of saying that you have a plan, with a fine-print-promise of "It aint gonna happen!"
Energy independence, serious energy independence, does not come from 20 year plans with little or no gain on current situations. Such plans guarantee future energy based wars in regions of the world that would rather not have US occupation.
So to get results, we need Radical Changes... radical changes in the form of Radical Policy and Radical New Laws. I am not one to support bigger government or more laws... but in this case it is a new law that will steer the "norm" in a new direction.
When the congress passed their "sweeping fuel consumption reform" they praised themselves as the car companies grumbled in protest... the reform: mandating 40 mpg average on ALL vehicles by 2020... in hopes to reduce fuel consumption. But with the number of vehicles on the road increasing each year, this does nothing to energy consumption but maintain the status quo!
We need an energy independence bill to go through both houses and the oval office that will guarantee immediate and drastic change... Complete energy independence in less than 8 years from the time of passage... Sounds impossible, but is it? Oh, it will piss off the oil industry... but it is time to "break the addiction". My legislation would look something like this (legal jargon omitted) -
1. 100% of All new vehicles to be sold in the United States shall be Ethanol E-85, Flex Fuel, Ethanol/Hybrid technology, Bio-Diesel, or otherwise burning less than 15% total petrol per tank of fuel by the year 2012.
2. All Oil industry subsidies shall be stopped, and money used instead to prepare the ethanol & bio-diesel infrastructure, including ethanol fuel crops, ethanol / bio-diesel production, and distribution centers. All fueling stations shall be required to provide alternative fueling options (ethanol and/or bio-diesel)
3. US should fund creation of new power plants within the US, to include ONLY clean fuels, excluding Nuclear fission plants. Plants should include Offshore-Wind, Tidal Generators, Geothermal Generators, and Solar Plants.
4. States should be classified as "Sunshine" or "Non-Sunshine" states/regions. For instance, Eastern Colorado gets 300+ days of sunshine a year... this will classify it as a Sunshine State / Region.
5. ALL homes and buildings in "sunshine regions" shall be required to install Solar Panels and energy storage. Cost of installation shall be offset by government subsidies to the solar panel manufacturers. This will drastically reduce the need for power plants, and ensure reduction in natural gas/coal/oil burning emissions. The solar power could provide 75% of all housing energy consumption, eliminating energy draws / black-outs / etc.
Taking the steps above we, as a country, reduce emissions of petroleum based fuels by at least 50-75%. We will also reduce the need for mass power distribution, allowing power share of stored personal solar energy. we will completely eliminate the need to import fuels from the middle east and south America by 2020 (not just reducing by 20-40%). It assures that we become not only energy independent from foreign governments, but greatly adds to our own personal energy independence from big power companies... as well as promising better stewardship of the land in which we live.
This is a radical shift in America, and a challenge that will rival the first moon program to implement on such a short timeline...
But it CAN be done.
In fact, I have freely given my independent ideas on this policy change to Bill Richardson and the You Tube community last week, and I offer it to you (my reader) today. If there is not movement in the congress or by a presidential candidate to adopt these radical policies, I will have to take up the fight myself!
Give the policy some thought, and please feel free to comment...