Grave New World Of Energy
Energy used to be something we took for granted in the U.S.; it was cheap, accessible and plentiful. Now, energy seems precious, complicated and fractious, a chip in the high-stakes game of geopolitics.
These days, there's so much noise around energy: the post-9/11 terror premium; speculators distorting prices in the futures market; OPEC playing games with supply; and politicians preaching about energy independence.
Energy is now integral to the wealth of a nation. Its transformational powers can be seen in Norway to Angola, where crude oil is a recent blessing.
In the U.S., energy is a case of vanishing riches, missed opportunities — yet endless potential. Energy policy drifts, subject to short-term, not long-term considerations.
At the same time, multi-nationals and entrepreneurs are scrambling to make the most out of alternative fuels and energy-efficient technology, from hydrogen-powered autos to coal-based ethanol to energy storage. Companies from retailers to semiconductor manufacturers are embracing conservation and sustainability.
The payoffs are many, whether it is saving money on everyday energy consumption and redirecting it into investment, or creating well-paying, high-skill green jobs and exportable technology.
Our special report, "Energy & You", covers all this ground and more.