On a recent PBS "News Hour" show, a pair of national security advisers pondered the prospects for the Middle East exploding and what might be done to prevent it. The bottom line, they finally agreed, is that the oil must continue flowing.
This is not where we want to be. Not us, the United States, nor the world. We must have a new energy system that does not depend on ever costlier, non-sufficiently reliable fossil fuels whose combustion threatens our very existence.
It's not as hard as it may seem. Renewable energy resources are more than adequate and rapidly becoming price competitive. What we require is an integrated distribution system that allows transfer of energy from areas where the sun is shining and the wind is blowing to areas where they are not.
Of course, we will need to harden this grid to protect it from solar storms that can more or less blow all the fuses in our electrical system. But we will have to do this anyway. Our cobbled-together transmission system becomes more vulnerable by the day as our dependence on electronics accelerates.
Byron W. Baker