Energy Security and Reliability
Let’s face it. Our power system is vulnerable. It relies heavily on a relatively small number of very large power plants. It relies on just a few resources—coal, gas, nuclear, hydro—and on long-distance supplies provided by a small number of suppliers.
This centralized design provides little resilience and poor ability to recover from external shocks, whether economic or geologic, accidents or terrorist attacks. Business as Usual power generation undermines the ecological foundations of our security. It releases large amounts of mercury and other toxics over wide areas. Emissions of NOx and particulates degrade public health, at great public expense. It uses large amounts of water. Mining and drilling disrupt entire ecosystems. Increasing carbon concentrations in the atmosphere threaten catastrophic agricultural, disease, species extinction and political impacts.
Can our energy future be secure if it is unsustainable? Transportation is heavily dependent on imported energy over which we have little or no control. Energy dependence costs us much more than the $600 billion we send overseas every year to pay for energy imports. It has undermined our ideals and our standing in the world. It requires enormous military expenditures to protect.