24 January 2015

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The Solar Solution

Over thirty-five years ago, then-President Jimmy Carter gave a speech on national television predicting that besides efforts to prevent future wars, the biggest issue our country would face in his lifetime was the energy crisis.

One of his solutions was to use solar energy as an alternative to traditional sources of energy – namely oil.

Carter predicted that if the energy crisis was not solved quickly, it would affect the lives of the listener’s children and grandchildren in great ways.

We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources,” he said. “By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.” 

Carter warned that the energy crisis solutions he would be presenting to Congress were unpopular, but necessary. 

The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are running out. In spite of increased effort, domestic production has been dropping steadily at about six percent a year. Imports have doubled in the past five years. Our nation’s independence of economic and political action is becoming increasingly constrained. Unless profound changes are made to lower oil consumption, we now believe that early in the 1980s the world will be demanding more oil than it can produce,” Carter said.

In addition, just think, this was over thirty-five years ago.

Carter warned that unless the country changed something, the United States would be spending more than $550 billion for imported oil by the mid-80s. “Along with that money we will continue losing American jobs and becoming increasingly vulnerable to supply interruptions.”

Carter listed ten principles necessary to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil that included reducing the demand through conservation and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs with an effective conservation program.

The tenth principle he mentioned was this:
The tenth principle is that we must start now to develop the new, unconventional sources of energy we will rely on in the next century,” he said.

He then listed seven goals to achieve by 1985. These goals included reducing the energy demand, reducing gasoline consumption, slashing imported oil by one-half, establishing a “strategic petroleum reserve of one billion barrels, more than six months’ supply,” increasing coal production by two thirds, insulating 90 percent of U.S. homes and making sure all new buildings were insulated and the seventh:

Use solar energy in more than two and one-half million houses.”

Carter knew he faced an uphill battle at the time:

I can’t tell you that these measures will be easy, nor will they be popular. But I think most of you realize that a policy which does not ask for changes or sacrifices would not be an effective policy.”

The plan is essential to protect our jobs, our environment, our standard or living, and our future.”

During his speech, Carter also spoke about how the United States was a leader in the world and this plan was a chance to once again set an example for other countries.

If you will join me so that we can work together with patriotism and courage,” Carter finished, “we will again prove that our great nation can lead the world into an age of peace, independence and freedom.”

Submitted by: Frank Yaconis

About Today's Contributor
Frank Yocanis has been writing about solar power in Phoenix for more than a decade. He is an expert on how solar jobs in Arizona will enhance our world and our lives. 

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