According to a well-documented report presented to United States Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary in July 1993, safe, non-polluting alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels are available and affordable right now. These alternatives can provide abundant energy supplies at lower cost than conventional sources, and at the same time solve a wide range of environmental and economic problems. However, for renewable energy technologies to thrive, current governmental regulatory biases against them, such as subsidies to fossil fuel and nuclear industries, would have to be eliminated.
The extensive data prepared by Dr. Will Keepin, consultant to the Energy Foundation in San Francisco and to Plutonium Free Future in Berkeley, details how energy efficient technologies are fully developed for every end-use sector of the economy. They could cut U.S. energy consumption roughly in half, with no reduction in comfort, service or lifestyle. Citing seventeen different non-polluting renewable energy sources that include wind power, solar thermal energy, solar photovoltaic electricity, biomass and solar buildings, Dr. Keepin demonstrates the accessibility, efficiency and economic viability of each.
Wind power in the Great Plains, for example, can at present supply electricity for less than five cents per kilowatt/hour (kwh), dropping one to two cents by the year 2000. For comparison, new coal-fired electricity costs over ten cents per kwh and new nuclear power costs around 13 cents per kwh. The Department of Energy has made its own study showing that wind power alone could in principle supply more than the entire U.S. energy demand.
Another little known fact is that the Department of Energy has estimated the total renewable energy resource base in the United States to be enormous, nearly one thousand times the current energy consumption in the country. However, as Dr. Keepin stresses, "for renewable energy to flourish, regulatory conditions must be reformed to eliminate biases that favor conventional energy technologies over renewable technologies. Such biases include subsidies . . . inconsistent tax policies, barriers to utility ownership and participation, lack of financial advantages to reflect the environmental benefits of renewable energy."
Comprehensive facts about state of the art technology of alternative energies are available in The Plutonium Free Future Energy Handbook. The handbook looks at the costs, advantages, and feasibility of every major energy source from coal to nuclear to solar, and addresses such issues as global warming, environmental impact, and economic development world wide. It emphasizes "our health, environment, economy and political systems all depend a great deal on the ways in which we get and use energy. Everyone of us has the capacity and responsibility to educate ourselves and to understand and affect energy policy."
The Handbook for a Plutonium Free Future, illustrated by Mayumi Oda, is available from Plutonium Force Future/INOCHI, P.O. Box 2589, Berkeley CA 94702 USA. tel: 510/540-7645; fax: 510/540-6159. email@example.com One copy is $5; 2-5 copies are $4 each; 6 or more are $3 each.