News / Economy

Is Alternative Energy Viable in US Market?

The Obama administration devoted more than $80 billion towards alternative energy research and energy efficiency as part of the 2009 Recovery Act
The Obama administration devoted more than $80 billion towards alternative energy research and energy efficiency as part of the 2009 Recovery Act

Multimedia

Peter Fedynsky

The current spike in oil prices sparked by unrest in the Middle East is not the first one to hit the United States.  Traditionally, higher prices have prompted calls for American energy independence through alternative energy.  But skeptics say such calls amount to little more than talk in a nation heavily dependent on cheap foreign oil.

The latest increase in U.S. fuel prices was driven by unrest in the Middle East.  In the past, Americans have faced higher energy costs following hurricanes that disrupted oil supplies; after major oil spills; or during energy embargoes by the OPEC oil cartel.  Each spike focused attention on America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Thomas Wallin, president of Energy Intelligence, an energy information company, says few people have noticed that the Obama administration devoted more than $80 billion towards alternative energy research and energy efficiency as part of the 2009 Recovery Act.

“But I think at a time that governments are trying to cut spending and austerity is sort of the word of the day, it gets very hard to tilt the whole playing field of energy in favor of alternatives, which is what you effectively need to do to make them come in faster,” noted Wallin.

The 2009 Recovery Act that funded President Obama’s energy initiatives has expired.  And the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is trying to rein in government spending.

The director of market intelligence at the NASDAQ stock market in New York, Anu Sharma, says the current spike in oil prices will likely provoke a political debate.

“You’re going to hear people talk about trying to explore new areas for research and development, as well as drilling," noted Sharma.  "That’s going to come up.  And the other side of the debate; the alternative whole energy sector is going to rise up when it comes to solar and wind.”

But Thomas Wallin says America loses the political will to embrace a dramatic shift in energy policy when oil prices decline.

“We’ve been through these crises before in the past," noted Wallin.  "There’s been a lot of plans and a lot of talk.  And then, when things get easier, we’re suddenly not spending the money in that way; we’re not pushing those programs the way we were.”

As a result, if the past is any indication, Americans will likely rely on foreign oil until permanently higher oil prices force them to find alternative sources of energy.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7893
JPY
USD
107.68
GBP
USD
0.6238
CAD
USD
1.1214
INR
USD
61.185

Rates may not be current.