Updated on 9/12/2009 The energy policy below is updated from time-to-time and includes my thoughts, feedback from my blog readers and from SeekingAlpha.com readers. Significant revisions were made after reading Robert Hefner III's book The GET: Grand Energy Transition. Hefner's book is required reading for anyone interested in energy and 21st century energy policy. You can get more information on ordering The GET here:
STEP 1: Acknowledge the Problem
· Acknowledge the problem. No difficult problem can be solved until it is first acknowledged. US government and media need to honestly inform and educate the American people and policy makers at every level about the threat worldwide oil supply/demand realities pose to the US. The US uses 25% of worldwide oil supply, yet owns only 3% of the world's proven reserves. The US imports 70% of its oil, enriching unfriendlies such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Iran. We are going bankrupt in the process not to mention funding both sides of the "war on terror". Our currency is weak. Our addiction to oil and coal have led to three intolerable consequences: economic contraction, environmental destruction, and geostrategic tensions. These are the basics of the energy challenge facing America. The energy crisis needs to be attacked with realistic information and wise policy decisions. A strategic, long-term, comprehensive energy policy must be adopted, publicized, and executed. The basic components of such an energy policy are listed below.
· The basic top-level energy strategy can be summarized as: we need to use less dirty and expensive solid and liquids based energy (coal, imported oil) and more cleaner and cheaper US domestic gas energy (natural gas, wind, solar, and hydrogen).
· Create a National Energy Council to develop and speed the implementation of the top-level energy strategy stated above. The director of the NEC should report directly to the President as a member of the Cabinet.
· US energy policy must recognize the fact that natural gas is the only domestic fuel supply capable of being scaled-up within the next decade to meaningfully reduce American's foreign oil imports and CO2 emissions. America should become the world leader in CNG vehicles.
STEP 2: Conservation and Energy Efficiency
· Increase fuel-efficiency standards substantially and immediately.
· Increase gas guzzler green taxes and encourage non-gasoline powered vehicles via increased tax rebates.
· Impose a top speed limit of 60 mph nationwide.
· Adopt four-day workweeks wherever and whenever it makes sense.
· Conservation and efficiency guidelines should be issued by federal, state, and local governments.
STEP 3: Transportation Initiatives
· Have at least half of all American cars and trucks running on CNG by the year 2015.
This will be done by retrofitting existing vehicles to run on natural gas, and by increased production of CNG vehicles. Tax credits should cover conversion costs.
· Encourage and adopt natural gas/electric hybrid vehicles as the single best solution to reducing foreign oil imports and emissions. See the Toyota concept car above.
· We should focus on natural gas home refueling appliances like the "Phill" to enable home garage refueling of NGVs in the 130 million vehicles already residing in homes on the existing natural gas pipeline grid. Tax credits should cover the installation costs of a CNG home refueling appliance.
· Tax credits should be given to all gas stations on or near the existing natural gas grid so that these stations are required to provide natural gas refueling. Tax credits should also be available to businesses such that their employees can refuel with natural gas while at work.
· Substantial government assistance for US automakers to tool-up CNG and CNG/electric hybrid vehicle production. This government assistance will extend to the production of home refueling appliances in order to bring their costs down.
· Tax credits to build out natural gas refueling stations along the nation's interstate highway system.
· All government vehicle fleets should switch to NGV’s. Encourage local municipal use of natural gas (refuse pickup, buses, mass transit, etc). Develop the natural gas conversion kit market to convert existing gasoline powered vehicles to cleaner cheaper natural gas.
· Develop electric and natural gas powered mass transit for people and goods.
· Place a green tax on all imported oil and all coal usage. The revenue generated will go *only* toward building the natural gas, wind, solar, and electrical infrastructures needed to move toward a gas based energy society. The taxes should be ramped up over a 5 year period to allow for economic planning and adjustment.
STEP 4: Prioritize and Invest Sustainable and Green Energy Sources
· Abolish federal subsidies for the oil and coal industries.
· Abolish biofuel and ethanol mandates. They cause major distortions in the food chain, inflation, and impeed development of other more economic alternative energy sources.
· Eliminate the construction of any new coal power plants. Replace existing coal plants with more distributed natural gas electrical generation.
· Construct a trans-Canadian natural gas pipeline from Alaska to the lower-48.
· Begin a government sponsored “battery technology” program (similar to the successful Sematech organization for semi-conductor technology) in order to insure that the US is not only the leader (we are way behind now…) in battery research and design, but also in battery *manufacturing*.
· Invest in wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal, and tidal energy generation to power non-gasoline powered transportation solutions described in STEP 3 above.
· In order to use the power generated from the above non-oil sources to power automobile solutions, the natural gas & electric grid infrastructures must be updated and its capacity increased dramatically.
· The government must deem electric transmission lines a matter of national security and thereby invoke eminent domain in order to construct them as needed to deliver solar and wind energy from source to consumption.
· Wind and solar power generation of hydrogen via electrolysis as a storage mechanism for calm and cloudy days. Hydrogen power generation needs encouragement.
· Streamline the permitting and construction of LNG terminals on both US coasts.
· Streamline the permitting and construction of latest generation nuclear power plants.
· Open the continental shelf and Alaska to natural gas drilling. The royalties on these resources will help fund other components of this energy plan.
· Abolish import taxes on Brazilian ethanol.
· Increase funding for hydrogen fusion research and development.
STEP 5: Social Iniatives
· Encourage local sustainability in energy generation, food production, and transportation.
· Encourage population control through education.
· Encourage green power education, business, and industry.
· The US voting public should demand energy accountability by its political leadership.