Does America Have The Juice?

American Energy. President Obama says we’re going to become an energy power again. Is he right? And how clean can the energy be?

In this Oct. 27, 2011 photo, a wind turbine is seen at the First Wind project in Sheffield, Vt. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin wants the state to get 90 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2050, largely eliminating the state's reliance on fossil fuels. (AP)

In this Oct. 27, 2011 photo, a wind turbine is seen at the First Wind project in Sheffield, Vt. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin wants the state to get 90 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2050, largely eliminating the state's reliance on fossil fuels. (AP)

It was energy boomtown talk in the State of the Union address the other night. The President, lit up like Jed Clampett in the Beverly Hillbillies, talking about American-made energy. Black gold. Texas tea. And nearly everything else on the energy menu. Every fossil fuel but coal. Natural gas. Fracking all over. New offshore oil drilling. Wind, solar, green tech, clean tech.

“All of the above!” said the President, talking about the USA as a rip-snorting energy powerhouse again. Yes, this is politics. But that’s not all.

This hour, On Point: America’s big energy makeover.

-Tom Ashbrook


Juliet Eilperin, the national environmental reporter for The Washington Post and the author of a recent article in Wired magazine on the collapse of the clean energy market.

Phil Verleger, Founder of PKVerleger LLC, an energy & economic consulting firm whose clients include firms, governments, and individuals. He’s a visiting fellow at the Petersen Institute for International Economics.

From Tom’s Reading List

Las Vegas Review-Journal “President Barack Obama today will visit a UPS plant in Las Vegas to promote a national transition to alternative fuels, including natural gas to power trucks that deliver millions of packages to Americans’ doorsteps and offices every day.”

Wired “The billionaire venture capitalist had come to the end of his now-famous March 8, 2007, TED talk on climate change and renewable energy, and his emotions were getting the better of him. Doerr had begun by describing how his teenage daughter told him that it was up to his generation to fix global warming, since they had caused it. After detailing how the public and private sectors had so far failed at this, Doerr, who made his fortune investing early in companies that became some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names—Netscape,, and Google, among others—exhorted the audience and his peers (largely one and the same) to band together and transform the nation’s energy supply. “I really, really hope we multiply all of our energy, all of our talent, and all of our influence to solve this problem,” he said, falling silent as he fought back tears. “Because if we do, I can look forward to the conversation I’m going to have with my daughter in 20 years.””

Washington Post “In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama spoke optimistically about the bounty of unconventional natural gas under the eastern United States. “We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years,” Obama said, “and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.” ”

NPR “Rancher Tim Pennell says you need only look out the window in DeWitt County to see what “fracking” has brought to the gently rolling terrain of South Texas.”

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