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Journey to Energy Independence

Public Works and Energy Independence

Energy independence will be achieved by producing abundant, clean and affordable domestic energy through new technology that will enable all countries to do the same. American Energy Independence will lead to global energy independence.

Using oil for energy—for fuel—made sense when oil was cheap. But it did not remain cheap. When Al Qaeda came along, the real price—including the hidden costs—of imported oil rose to the point that U.S. synthetic fuels and biofuels became an economically viable option for replacing petroleum transportation fuels (U.S. natural gas has always been a viable option).

Clearly, the amount of money America spends to protect Middle East oil and fight a war against Islamic terrorism, if invested in energy independence, would be more than enough to develop new technology that will obsolete the need for oil as a source of energy to power our cars, trucks and airplanes.

Over 50% of all oil produced in the world today is consumed by transportation (50% is the worldwide average—over 70% of oil consumed in the USA is used by transportation) in the form of petroleum fuels burned in cars, trucks and airplanes (and in boats, ships and trains). The development of a replacement for oil, as the world's source of transportation fuels, would have the same effect as doubling the world's oil supply.

Ben Franklin
Over 6,000 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq and more then 30,000 wounded since the war began on March 20, 2003 my opinion, there never was a good War, or a bad Peace. What vast additions to the Conveniences and Comforts of Living might Mankind have acquired, if the Money spent in Wars had been employed in Works of public utility!”
— Benjamin Franklin, 1783 - quoted from a letter to Joseph Banks.

Invest in Energy Independence

The American taxpayer spends billions of dollars every year to pay for military hardware such as planes, ships, and tanks. These purchases are considered an investment in America’s security. The American people do not expect to make a profit from military hardware; they believe such investments are worth the cost in order to protect Liberty. 

The same argument can be made for investing in a 21st Century American energy production and distribution system; one that will free America from dependence on oil as the source of transportation fuels.

For less than the cost of military operations in the Middle East (or the price of the Wall Street bailout), the United States could build synthetic fuel refineries, renewable energy farms, and nuclear power reactors across America. The combination of synthetic fuels, renewable energy, and safe nuclear power can free America from dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Using American tax dollars to buy the initial hardware needed to create energy from renewables (solar, wind, ocean waves, geothermal, and biomass), USA hydrocarbons (Synthetic Fuels), and nuclear power would reduce the cost of the energy produced by the hardware.

With public funding of the initial capital investment, the cost of alternative energy production would be equal or less than the cost of crude oil (even at reasonable prices). Why? Because the hardware is expensive, not the alternative energy—it doesn't cost much to produce the energy after the hardware is paid for.

The development of a 21st century national energy infrastructure would create and sustain tens of thousands, if not millions, of new good paying jobs in America; and at the same time give private American companies an opportunity to profit from the manufacture, installation and operation of the new energy hardware. The economic stimulus and growth resulting from such an enormous investment would generate new local, state and federal tax revenue that would eventually return far more than the original public investment.

Speech given by U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) on December 18, 2007 at the Brookings Institution on U.S. Energy Security and the 2008 Presidential Election.

     “Today, I would state unequivocally, that energy security and the economic and environmental issues closely associated with it should be the most important topics of the 2008 Presidential election. I say this deliberately, notwithstanding the existence of extremely important immediate concerns such as the war in Iraq and the performance of the American economy, as well as persistent public policy struggles that have confronted us for decades, such as deficit reduction, health care, and social security. I say this even in the context of my own long standing evangelism related to non-proliferation and arms reduction, issues which I believe have not diminished in importance.
     “Three factors lead me to the conclusion that energy is the most vital topic of this Presidential election:
     “First, energy is the issue with the widest gulf between what is required to make our nation secure and what is likely to be achieved through the inertia of existing programs and Congressional proposals. As such, it is the issue on which meaningful progress most depends on the great intangible in American public policymaking – the application of dramatic, visionary, and sustained Presidential leadership.
     “Congress and private enterprise can make evolutionary energy advancements, but revolutionary national progress in the energy field probably is dependent on presidential action. Our energy dependence is perpetuated by a lack of national will and focus. Only the President has the visibility to elevate a cause to national status, and only the President can leverage the buying power, regulatory authority, and legislative leadership of an administration behind solving a problem that is highly conducive to political procrastination and partisanship.
     “Second, transformational energy policies are likely to be a requirement for achieving our economic and social aspirations here at home. In an era when exploding global demand for energy creates high prices and fears of scarcity, the U.S. economy is likely to continue to underperform. Our ability to address social security, health care, education, and overall budget problems will be heavily encumbered over both the short and the long run if we do not mitigate our energy import dependence. Almost any scenario for recession will be deepened by high energy costs. Moreover, many of the most severe recession scenarios involve sustained energy disruptions due to terrorism, war, embargo, or natural disaster.
     “Third, energy is the underlying condition that exacerbates almost every major foreign policy issue. We pressure Sudan to stop genocide in Darfur, but we find that the Sudanese government is insulated by oil revenue and oil supply relationships. We pressure Iran to stop its uranium enrichment activities, yet key nations are hesitant to endanger their access to Iran’s oil and natural gas. We try to foster global respect for civil society and human rights, yet oil revenues flowing to authoritarian governments are often diverted to corrupt or repressive purposes. We fight terrorism, yet some of the hundreds of billions of dollars we spend each year on oil imports are diverted to terrorists. We give foreign assistance to lift people out of poverty, yet energy-poor countries are further impoverished by expensive energy import bills. We seek options that would allow for military disengagement in Iraq and the wider Middle East, yet our way of life depends on a steady stream of oil from that region. American national security will be at risk as long as we are heavily dependent on imported energy.”

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