Editorial

Help Us Achieve Energy Synergy

by Richard G. Johnstone Jr., Exec. Editor

Richard Johnstone

The Manhattan Project. The Space Race.  Each of these is an icon. The first, of course, speaks of the scientific genius, the fevered rush against a fast-ticking clock, and the cloak of secrecy needed to successfully develop an atomic bomb and thus bring an end to World War II. The second conjures images of President Kennedy admonishing us early in the ’60s to take the lead in exploring the next great frontier and, thus inspired, launching ourselves on a journey that would culminate by decade’s end in man, and mankind, paying a visit to Earth’s next-door neighbor, the moon.

These iconic phrases prove at least a couple of important points, one of which is that words have tremendous positive power — to inform, to educate, to entertain, to inspire, to question, to change individuals and groups, to create movements, and indeed to create whole nations.

Both phrases have literally become shorthand for great successes achieved under excruciating deadlines against heavy odds. This, of course, proves another point — that when we, as Americans, commit ourselves in unity to a goal, and fully unleash our creativity, our talents and our resources, there is virtually nothing that we cannot accomplish.

Which is wonderful, since we desperately need a “Space Race” to find solutions to the daunting array of energy challenges that face us. In short, we must develop and support a “Manhattan Project” to build a comprehensive energy policy.

On this page in the June and July issues, we outlined for you a campaign developed by electric cooperatives across the country to help do just that. Dubbed “Our Energy, Our Future,” this campaign by our nation’s 900-plus electric cooperatives asks for political action from the 40 million Americans who receive their electricity from a consumer-owned electric cooperative. In short, by visiting www.ourenergy.coop and sending an e-mail message to your federal representatives, you and your fellow cooperative members CAN make a difference.

And difference-makers are what our nation needs, as we look at unprecedented increases in the cost of the fuels that power our vehicles and our electric-generating stations; at growing concerns about climate change; at the need to focus more effort on conservation of resources; and at increases in demand for electricity and increases in the lead time needed to provide it. Perhaps never has it been more challenging for electric utilities to provide reliable, affordable power in an environmentally responsible manner. Yet doing precisely that is what electric cooperatives are all about. It’s our calling, our mission, and our evergreen, never-ending goal.

You can help by visiting www.ourenergy.coop, and taking part in the “Our Energy, Our Future” campaign, which revolves around asking cooperative member-consumers like you to make your voices heard. The Web site allows you to ask critically important questions to your three representatives in Congress: your House member, and Senators John Warner and Jim Webb. Last month’s question related to our nation’s growing electricity needs and what Congress plans to do to help address them. Next month’s third and final question will focus on affordability.

This month’s question focuses on technology. Please help your family, your community, your cooperative and all of us by visiting the Web site (www.ourenergy.coop) and posing to your elected representatives in Congress this second question: “Our country faces a crisis as electricity use increases faster than available supply. I believe that by unleashing American ingenuity we can solve this problem. What are you doing to speed the development of new technology that will allow me to have the electric power I need while meeting our national climate policy goals?”

In order to establish our own “Manhattan Project” and craft a true national energy policy (an “Energy Synergy” project, if you will), electric consumers like you and me must speak loudly, clearly and firmly and insist that our elected leaders address these questions, these needs, and these imperatives NOW.

Please visit www.ourenergy.coop for more information and to share your concerns with your representatives in Congress. The challenges that face us are considerable, but certainly no greater than those faced, and through unity and determination solved, by previous generations. We cannot afford to do any less.

 

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