In the NYTimes, Al Gore lays out a 5-point plan for President Obama: 1) Offer economic incentives for companies to build solar, geo-thermal and wind-power plants; 2) Begin work on a new nationwide power grid; 3) Subsidize conversion of the auto industry to plug-in hybrids; 4) Initiate a projects to re-insulate buildings across the country, and replace windows and lighting with energy-efficient alternatives; and 5) Lead the world in crafting and supporting a new global treaty to replace Kyoto.
The whole thing is worth a read.
It's #2 that interests me most and seems the most essential. #1 and 3 would be useless without it, #4 would be insufficient to the problem, #5 would be rendered just talk with no grid to execute the next steps. If we can't pull that off - to literally unite the country with a next-generation infrastructure to handle delivery of new energy sources from the regions that can produce it to the regions that use it - then the dream of energy independence will remain distant. But it strikes me as an awesome undertaking, the importance and difficulty of which has not gotten enough attention.
Obama likens the goal of energy independence to JFK's call to put a man on the moon. But isn't it more like the creation of the federal highway system? It's not just the job of a small group of specialists in laboratory city, but a far-reaching job requiring the cooperation of federal, state and local government agencies from coast to coast.