Time for leadership on U.S. energy future
By Martha Wyrsch
Energy drives geopolitics. It’s essential for a developed society, and it’s a precondition for a healthy population. Energy prices determine how slow or robust our economic growth is going to be.
Like it or not, energy literally drives the world we live in.
Now consider that the global population is projected to be at 9 billion by the year 2050.
In other words, as many people will join the world’s population in the coming four decades as have lived in the world since World War I.
Our planet’s ability to withstand this huge population increase will be severely constrained if we fail to find a sustainable solution to the problems associated with energy production and energy consumption.
That's a big challenge. We must deliver more energy as populations grow and emerging nations improve their standards of living. There's an opportunity to stabilize the world economy by bringing down the cost of energy. And in the United States, reducing our dependence on foreign sources without giving up quality of life is a matter of national security. Not to mention safeguarding the natural environment for future generations.
You'd probably expect me to say that wind is the answer. And you'd be partly right.
But the real answer lies in two simple words: diversity and profitability.
First, diversity: In the United States we're blessed with an abundance of energy resources – from traditional carbon-based fuels to newer clean technologies.
Like our population, our domestic energy supply is rich and diverse. Some states are rich in oil, some in gas, some in hydro, and many in wind, but few have it all.
Martha Wyrsch is the Portland-based president of global wind turbine company Vestas Americas.
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