goglio704 wrote:If it were up to me, I would do two things to encourage energy independence:
1: I'd build a bunch of the new generation of nuclear power plants which rely more on physics for safety than the older, more complex designs with multiple, expensive redundancies. We should not be using oil to generate electricity or heat homes. It is nuts.
Without question this is going to happen, but we're way behind where we should be. This should have been high priority a decade ago.
goglio704 wrote:2: I'd move away from OTR trucks and toward rail based shipping for long distances. This would require modular shipping containers which could be switched quickly from one train to another by automated gantry cranes.
For two reasons; our road system can't sustain the kind of truck transport we have at present, we simply haven't the resources to maintain the roads and fiscally we can't continue to spend what we are now to maintain them. Additionally, we can't continue to build new roads in this country that we ultimately can't maintain. We are just beginning to see the pending doom with things like the catastrophic bridge failure in Minnesota.
It is unfortunate that we couldn't build autobahn quality road surface in the US, it would have meant less repair expense later on, which as we know is the most costly component.
Second, rail is the most cost-effective method of transport in this country even though it may compromise delivery times etc. I believe we need to get back to a solid rail transport system.
goglio704 wrote:Bear in mind, both of these objectives would require decades of work. As a group, we Americans have short attention spans and tend to change direction every 8 years or so.
Nuclear power, yes, we're quite a ways away, but rail might not require decades to implement if it was recognized as a priority by those with the power / financial resources needed to make it happen.
goglio704 wrote:In the short term, we need to build refineries and the pipelines to go with them. Too much of our refining capacity is on the Gulf coast. The right hurricane in the right spot, and we will be truly screwed.
True, as summer 2006 should have made blatantly clear to everyone, we're incredibly vulnerable in our present situation.