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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.