As the 70s went along, from its beginnings in 1970 as Earth Day, a steady stream of attention had been applied to alternative sources of Energy and conserving what we had left. With the Middle East crisis in 1973 and a looming gas shortage in 1976, the subject of an alternative, plausible source was actively discussed. The question was, did we actually have one? Some said we did, while others said we were woefully ill-prepared to meet the next fuel emergency that would inevitably strike and that we really didn’t have any alternative to fossil fuel in order to meet that emergency.
Solar Energy was talked about and in its experimental stages. Conservation was a good idea, but only if everyone took it seriously; and that didn’t mean just the U.S. but everywhere else in the world where energy was being consumed at an alarming rate. Pollution in countries like China, where coal was a primary source was exceeding toxic levels and choking cities.
Energy derived from wind had been with us practically since the beginning of our civilization. Harnessing it as a source of automating certain tasks had been around for hundreds of years. But the question in 1975 was; how could harnessing wind as an energy source be sufficient enough to be a reliable power source? We weren’t talking about individual farms, we were talking about an alternative source for entire cities. And could wind do the job?
What else was available? What else were we doing to meet the looming crisis and what steps were we taking?
In this discussion, along with a Q and A session after, they looked for answers. Hard to do in the space of one hour, but it was a start. The program was part of a weekly series broadcast by National Public Radio, America’s Town Meeting. This episode featuring Congressman Al Ullman (D-Oregon) Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Frank Zarb, Administrator of the Federal Energy Agency.
The State of our Energy Policy in 1975. Compared to 2017, have we improved? Or are we going back?
Have a listen and think about it.
Here is that broadcast of America’s Town Meeting via NPR – July 25, 1975.