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A Prudent Energy Path

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1 Author(s)
MacPherson, H.G. ; Institute for Energy Analysis Oak Ridge Associated Universities P. 0. Box 117 Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830

The crucial energy problem of this century is the balance between supply and demand for liquid fuels. Our conventional petroleum source is limited and much of it comes from countries that we consider unstable. Our near-term national energy effort should be devoted almost exclusively to reducing our dependence on petroleum, using every means at our disposal. Our present fleet of automobiles should be replaced as soon as possible with cars using less than half as much gasoline and with electrically propelled vehicles. We must move faster on the production of liquid fuels from coal and oil shale. A way must be found to cut through the politics and financial problems of converting our oilfired electricity generating plants to the use of coal or uranium. Houses and stores that are now heated with oil should be insulated to use less fuel and should be converted to heating with electricity, provided that the electricity is produced from coal or uranium. Our transmission lines should be strengthened so that electricity generated from coal or uranium can be wheeled to oil-burning areas of the country. Even with these measures and more, it will take all of the remainder of this century to reach even a moderately comfortable position with respect to liquid fuels. While this is happening we can expect to be sharing our ample supplies of coal with other NATO countries, and what we thought was several centuries' worth of coal will turn out to be more like one century's worth.

Published in:

Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Feb. 1981

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