A Global Conference panel on energy brought home the growing national security concerns surrounding U.S. reliance on oil imported from volatile regions. Gen. Wesley Clark, who works today as an energy investor, noted that the U.S. is sending billions of dollars every year to autocratic states just to purchase oil. Changing this dynamic will require a major focus on the transportation sector.
We're on the brink of a major shift, however. Biofuels are gaining momentum, we've just figured out how to extract huge stores of natural gas from shale and electric cars are being rolled out. Major oil companies like Chevron are branching out, too. Investors just need clear policy signals. As Clark put it, the technology is ready and the capital just waiting is on the sidelines.
But panelists cautioned against having the government pick winners and losers. Instead we need to concentrate on diversifying our options. Anne Korin of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security was adamant that we need to develop flex-fuel cars that give consumers choices and "hedge our bets in every direction."
This wide-ranging policy discussion — deftly moderated by the entertaining Brian Sullivan of Fox Business Network — covered everything from the role of nuclear energy to the vulnerabilities of the current electric grid. Don't miss the video.