The U. S. will not only have to increase supplies of conventional fuels and take determined conservation measures, but will also have to coax gas and even synthetic crude oil from the abundant reserves of coal. It may have to extract crude oil from oil shale in the West. There is the possibility in some areas that geothermal power could be tapped on a broad scale and that the sun and winds could be harnessed in
a variety of ingenious ways to meet a significant share of the energy requirement. Nuclear power will need to be accelerated including the use of new and more efficient types of reactors. We will also need to develop thermonuclear fusion reactors which would be fueled ultimately by virtually inexhaustible heavy hydrogen in seawater. More efficient processes to convert energy to useful power will be necessary.
There will also have to be a sharp improvement in the efficiency of using energy, and this calls for smaller automobiles, better insulation for buildings, refrigerators and air conditioners that provide more cooling per kilowatt-hour, and even pots and pans that capture more heat from the gas ring on the stove. The U. S. will not return to its golden age of energy even if it uses all these measures and even if many of them succeed. Energy can no longer be as cheap or abundant as it has been in the past. At the same time, the end of the golden age does not mean an end to the American dream of a life of dignity and opportunity for all. We may discover that these objectives are not embodied in 300-horsepower automobiles or centrally air-conditioned homes. Perhaps our life-style may be altered by harsh new facts of energy scarcity and significantly higher costs in the marketplace, but our national character and particularly the adaptive and "can-do" qualities that have served us so well in the past will be major intangible assets in coping with our energy problems
PDF pages: 68; Front Matter: 3; Report: 62; Appendix: N/A; Disclaimer Pages: 2; Other: 1
Power resources -- United States
Energy policy -- United States
Repository Record Id:
The Economics of America's Energy Future