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County power plant a step toward a better economy

January 14, 2013 - Mike Maneval
The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects energy consumption in the U.S. will increase by the year 2035 by about 14 percent. While energy consumption levelled off in the recession, from 2000 to 2008 the U.S. consumed between 15 and 20 percent more energy. And the majority of that energy - 55 percent in 2009 - came from two non-renewable sources - coal and petroleum. Coal accounts for nearly half of electric production.

And the U.S. will not be alone in increasing energy consumption. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2010 that China's level of energy consumption had surpassed the U.S. A decade earlier, it consumed about half as much energy in a year as the U.S. In the years between it frequently posted annual increases in consumption greater than 10 percent. India also show potential for a rocketing trajectory in energy consumption.

While it likely is unreasonable to expect a change in patterns of ever-greater energy consumption - to do so would be to concede to a lower quality of life for future generations - the simple economics of supply and demand mean that if we continually consume more of a durable good for which the supply is finite, the cost of that good only can increase. The effects already can be seen in the past four or five years, as every time economic trends favor a decline in joblessness or better markets to sell services and goods to consumers, increases in the price of oil led back into wide economic stagnation.

In this instance, the pressures of a limited supply in the face of growing demand illustrates the limitations, as well, in being dependent on a small sliver of goods for the health of an entire economy, and the society it serves.

So if we expect the next generation to continue to use energy to meet the needs of Americans and in doing so build an economy, we must have greater resolve to break overdependence on two finite commodities to meet our energy needs. And diversifying energy production with biofuels, wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, nuclear and natural gas will allow the economy to thrive, independent of the fluctuations inherent to any one or two commodities. A plant in Clinton Township proposed by Moxie Energy to generate electricity with natural gas is a step toward such diversity and a thriving, sustainable economy.

 
 

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