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Monday, November 3, 2008

American Power

It may be the most important question the country faces: What will we do about energy?

Energy is the blood that runs through our economy: the highway miles paved with crude, the kilowatts of coal, those tentative first heartbeats of large-scale wind and solar. America famously uses more energy than any other country—measured either per capita or in total—and conservation measures aside, our rising standard of living will mean that we will consume even more in the future.

The question is: From where? Will we continue to pay overseas suppliers for increasingly scarce crude? Will we continue to burn mountains of coal and hope the effects aren’t catastrophic? Or will we encourage new technologies, new domestic sources that we control (and export), new energy industries that create jobs and boost the economy? Below, we explore the data points that must inform how the U.S. moves forward. Our lifeblood depends on it.