Sixty-two years ago, in a speech to the National Association of Science Writers, a U.S. government official named Lewis L. Strauss extolled his vision of America’s energy future. “Our children,” Strauss told the journalists assembled in New York City, “will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter.” Plentiful and cheap power has been mankind’s Holy Grail since the dawn of the Industrial Age. It was mostly coal-generated, at first, soon to be supplemented in the 19th century by petroleum products. The quest continues. Today, we still mine coal and refine crude oil, and pipe natural gas. We harness the wind, the tides, and the rivers while also tapping energy sources ranging in size from the sun to the atom. “All of the above” is the mantra of U.S. politicians —Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — when discussing future energy sources. With burgeoning energy needs here and around the globe, an eclectic approach makes economic, as well as political sense.
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