You do it, you get it, teach it coach it and work for it. It’s a goal – the one simple milestone that tells you “Here is success,” or “this is when I win.”

Look over a few plans:

Leading is the Pickens Plan. Good stuff, answers some immediate needs, gets us to a better situation. But no goal unless its to get Mr. Pickens and the other wind folks way better off. Granted the wind energy is free, but they make the money in the capture and conversion to electricity. One way or another we’re going to pay for the work and the means of new power lines to get it from “out there” to where we are. The outstanding fact is, it’s a part of a plan, a good one but in the end it’s quite small, only a part of a whole.

Racing to get attention is the Google plan. More good stuff, long term oriented and for all the mass of laid out information – well, its vague. Things like “Deploying aggressive end-use electrical energy efficiency measures” and “Long term national commitment” (huh?) have nothing solid to work on, no goal, and no substance. But man, it sounds good, looks good, reads well and comes off just like some politician’s policy paper. Wonk work won’t keep the lights on or the cars and freight moving. It is a good guide for what policy can be, with no concrete strategy, prioritization, or application of common sense. I was moved, but simply disappointed. I admire Google’s willingness to get into the field, and I expected more, only to find that corporate think won out over practical know how.

Even, or well, way way further out is the simply not responsible Al Gore slick and nearly silly “Alliance for Climate Protection” gambit to link energy to climate change. P.T. Barnam ran a circus and looking over Alliance’s “” site reminds of lion tamers, amazing acrobats and clowns. If shouting from the audience will make any difference, please explain? Oh! And send money! Was it Barnam who said something about fooling only some of the people? Puffery and hype are still with us, even as serious as things are right now, and lots of people fall for it.

There is some better stuff out there with real thought, analysis and concrete research in what directions will have a useful positive impact.

Securing America’s Future Energy is a nonpartisan, not for profit organization running the Energy Security Leadership Council. The council is led by FedEx Chairman Fred Smith and Marine Corp General P.X. Kelly. In late 2006 they prepared a plan that is now quite dated, and have just released a new version.

This is something completely different – a model of what any credible purveyor of “plan ideas” must exceed. Here you’ll see lines like “Electrification of the Transportation Sector: – Establish development of advanced battery storage technology as a top priority and spend at least $500 million per year toward their development.”

Got my attention now!

Energy and fuel issues have the retired military people’s attention. The Council is loaded with military and business people. Military personnel have and will have to risk their lives to keep the fuels coming so they are well motivated to seek out solutions that actually make a difference. Business leaders rely on people getting to work, supplies delivered, products sent on to customers and customers able to shop and buy what they sell. They also are highly motivated to have economically healthy consumers. These two points of view have coalesced into the group offering the best plan.

I took enough time to browse both the Sept 2008 and 2006 plans to see how the group has evolved and improved. They have grown and improved a long way in just two years.

At the same time the problem has gotten more in the minds of the consumer. $147 oil and $4 gasoline can focus the minds of even the most jaded Americans.

But from the pinnacle of responsible planning to the goofy misleading using an energy plan to serve a different purpose, all of these plans have merit. They are attempts to show a way into the future. From glitzy web pages from the Gore people to the Council’s direct, reasoned and well founded and carefully explained pdf there is a wealth of information.

In the end consumers and voters will choose. Political pressure from frustrations, fear and anger can easily drive us to mistakes so reviewing these plans can go far to easing the mind. We can see what the choices of the future might be and gain insight into the benefits the future could hold.

Yet after all of these there remains a missing element – the goal. Something national or maybe even something for everyone needs expressed. Not so long ago the U.S. was a net energy exporter. It could be said to be a goal, the U.S. becomes a net energy exporter. Or something more personal, like twice the energy at half the price.

Whatever the goal, it needs set out to get everyone pointed. Until that’s done, we’ll all be swirling around, wondering what to do, enduring the emotions of uncertainty and waiting for leadership.

As for this writer it’s “twice the energy at half the price used by tools twice as efficient, so that America is an energy exporter again.” But that’s too long, too much. Greedy me! If I’m setting a goal, it’s got to have a worthwhile payoff.


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