There is a growing realization that dependence on fossil fuels must simply be reduced.
One important way to do so is to reduce oil consumption by utilities. Already most US states grant subsidies for installing solar power generators. These panels can be easily fitted on rooftops and generate sufficient power to meet a substantial part of the total utilities requirement. In off peak hours the excess power generated can be fed into the local grid. Credit is received for the power contributed to the grid. Subsidies are around 20% on an average but in New Jersey it is a whopping 70%.
The US Department of Energy, in partnership with Owens Corning, launched Energy Savers in 1998. It provides useful tips to Americans save energy and money at home.
With energy consumption rising worldwide the the choices we make today about how we intend to meet our energy requirements in the future will impact our environment and our lives.
In a huge step forward the House passed a new Energy Bill on Saturday requiring most utilities to produce up to 15% of their electricity from renewable resources such as solar and wind power.
The Bill also seeks to provide money for increased research spending on development of alternative fuel technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Part of the funding for the above projects is to come from reducing tax breaks presently enjoyed by the oil industry. It thus seeks to provide an integrated energy and environmental policy for the first time.
Longer term goals include enhanced standards of energy efficiency for appliances and automobiles. A conscious decision to reduce carbon dioxide emission is also on the cards.
Fortunately, with advances in technology all these are in the realm of possibility. Although in the short term energy prices are likely to increase the longer term benefits are simply too large to be ignored.