I've read this thread for the first time just now... It has struck me how many people are advocating a limited range of options. In fact, if the "problem" is defined either as too much CO2 or too much dependence on foreign fuel sources, or more electricity for transportation, then we need nearly every option - no one option will work or work fast enough. Anything done today will be based on what is known and proven today, not what was just published in some technical publication last week. It takes a lot of time to bring technologies to market on a mass-produced, reliable basis. For the record, the overall US efficiency of turning a fossil fuel into a delivered kWh is ~40%. Others have reported on combustion efficiency of automobile engines. Overall, I agree with their assessment (gas ~20%, diesel ~30%). Also, at any given moment in time, a kWh generated must be consumed. Demand must be balanced exactly. Utilities can play around a little with voltage variations to balance generation with demand, but at some point, they have to increase or decrease generation. It's a tricky balance. Therefore, they have "base load" sources (run all the time) and "peak load" sources (run just when needed). With solar/wind, they now have "intermittent" sources. Nuclear - currently ~20% of US electricity production. A good "base load" (not peaking) source. Need to double it, but that would require 100 new nuclear plants. Currently there are "talks" about 2-5 in the next 10 years. What happens when the current ones are shut down? It makes me laugh when the northern NY City metro area citizens want to "shut down" the nuclear plant there - who else is going to produce the 2000 MWh that that produces? We need to keep the current plants open and open a lot more than 2-5 more in the next 10 years. The reality is that there has not been a lot of new nuclear construction in the last 30 years, so there is not a lot of capacity available to manufacture the specialized parts needed to ramp construction up today. It will take 10+ years to do this. Coal - hard to see it going away completely, but we shouldn't build new plants with current dirty and inefficient technology. If someone wants a new coal plant, it should only be the most efficient and clean (SO2, NOx, Mercury emissions) plant we can get - no more obscenely dirty coal, and then only to replace an existing dirtier coal plant that will be shut down as it is "replaced". We need to find a way to "scrub" the emissions of not just mercury and sulfur, but also CO2. Maybe we can use the CO2 from these plants to grow algae to turn into biodiesel (not out of the question, and being discussed, but it won't happen in the next 25 years either). Natural Gas - Fairly clean, and at the right price, there is plenty here in the US. Can be somewhat dirty to extract, depending on the location. A good fuel for peaking power plants since a natural gas generation plant can be brought on-line quickly in response to demand changes. Not cheap. Note that the "right price" isn't what the price is today, but about 3x today's price. Something to think about. Hydro - The only "green" renewable that can be controlled, somewhat. Unlikely to grow in MW generating size in the future. Solar/Wind - Intermittent, so need to be supplemented with non-intermittent sources (see Nuclear, Coal, Natural Gas). The Smart Grid needs to be developed to support the channeling of intermittent power sources to loads that can take advantage of it, and to shut off loads that can allow interruption as a way to "smooth" out variations in demand. We should keep adding as we can, and the ~30% yearly growth in these areas will compound quickly. The key to making these a bigger part of the mix is not to allow more coal-based production to be added, and as demand is reduced, close the most polluting power plants. Conservation - Yes, you can reduce demand, and we should work aggressively to do this. I hate the use of anecdotes to prove a point, but since everyone else seems to be using one, I'll use one also. My wife and I use electricity for lighting and appliances, have an electric hot water heater, a clothesline for clothes drying, and an electric range/stove. We use <400 kWh/month for everything. My father-in-law lives alone in a similar sized house and he uses electricity for lighting and appliances, heats his hot water with oil, uses a clothesline, and has a propane range/stove. He uses 400 kWh/month also, but he doesn't have the hot water load we have (200 kWh/month) or the range/stove load either! We have similar quality of life (i.e. my wife and I don't bump into walls in a dark house eating spoiled food from a 55 degree fridge), but he uses 4x as much electricity as us (1 person versus two people, and twice the usage for similar things). I think we represent two ends of the extreme, but it shows you what is out there and available for demand reduction. So I'll probably piss off all the greens who are rah rah solar and wind only (won't work, ever), and the "there is no choice but the path we have been on for 50 years" believers won't like what they read above either. The fact is, the era of 5 cent/kWh electricity is over because the era of cheap fossil fuels is over, and nobody in their right mind would ever want to live near a coal plant or coal ash dump (yes, I've seen both, and they are not pretty or healthy). All the options above will increase kWh electricity costs. Your costs can be mitigated through more efficient use of electricty (see example above), but anyone expecting a return to the cheap costs of the past is not facing current realities. This is not something that we can control. So, for the record, my personal "goal" is no fossil fuel use for heating, and on-site generation of all electricity that is needed by my household (incl. transportation). Am I there today? No. Am I making progress? Yes, slowly - first through new appliances and insulation and conservation, next through a wood stove, with plans for solar panels in the future. And in the meantime, I'm supporting wind power through purchase of wind/hydro energy through my local utillity. I'd like to depend on fossil fuels and nuclear for none of my energy needs, but I don't think I represent the "typical" US citizen, and the solution should be crafted with them in mind, and not me.