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Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?

Courtesy Reuters

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

Where are America's formal or de facto energy policies leading us? Where might we choose to go instead? How can we find out?

Addressing these questions can reveal deeper questions-and a few answers-that are easy to grasp, yet rich in insight and in international relevance. This paper will seek to explore such basic concepts in energy strategy by outlining and contrasting two energy paths that the United States might follow over the next 50 years-long enough for the full implications of change to start to emerge. The first path resembles present federal policy and is essentially an extrapolation of the recent past. It relies on rapid expansion of centralized high technologies to increase supplies of energy, especially in the form of electricity. The second path combines a

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