WASHINGTON, February 17, 2009 -- The United States can break its addiction to oil and mitigate climate change by electrifying transportation, building a modern electric grid, developing alternative fuels and increasing energy efficiency, according to IEEE-USA's new "National Energy Policy Recommendations."
"Energy underlies three converging challenges facing the United States today: prosperity, security and the environment," IEEE-USA says in http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/positions/energypolicy.pdf. "Electricity can play a key role in resolving these challenges, but substantial changes in how we manage our energy resources will be required."
Oil supplies more than 96 percent of the energy used in U.S. ground transportation. Electrifying the transportation system through widespread deployment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) could reduce per-vehicle oil consumption by 50 percent.
Greenhouse gas emissions could be mitigated by generating the additional electric power needed through alternative energy sources such as wind, nuclear, solar, biofuels and natural gas, among others.
"A radical transformation of the transportation sector is needed, because directly mitigating carbon emissions in the many millions of mobile sources is impractical," according to IEEE-USA. "The proposed response is a two-pronged effort to electrify transportation … and then replacing the remaining need for fuels to alternative carbon-neutral biofuels."
Relying more on electricity for transportation will require a "Smart Grid," i.e. one that incorporates modern technology to the U.S. electric network. This will greatly improve grid efficiency and reliability, while empowering consumers to better monitor their electric bills.
The Smart Grid should include expanding the electric transmission system and developing Massive Electricity Storage systems.
To see videos on the Smart Grid and PHEVs, go to http://www.youtube.com/user/IEEETechActivities.
IEEE-USA also calls for improving energy efficiency and making the U.S. energy supply greener.
"Renewable electric generating technologies, particularly those that emit minimal greenhouse gases, must be deployed to the extent that they are technologically and economically practical and have an acceptable impact on the environment and aesthetics," IEEE-USA says.
IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of more than 215,000 engineers, scientists and allied professionals who are U.S. members of the IEEE. IEEE-USA is part of the IEEE, the world's largest technical professional society with 375,000 members in 160 countries. See http://www.ieeeusa.org.
IEEE-USA Public Relations Manager