The escalating cost of gasoline and diesel is punishing our weak economy, and millions of farmers, small businesses and families are struggling to cope. In the next couple of years the increased price for electricity could have a profound effect on our economy. In our nation, and around the world, the supply of energy is simply not keeping up with demand. With our state's potential for wind energy, biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas, oil, hydroelectric, and coal
Montana could be a huge part of the solution to the nation's energy challenge, but we have to get more aggressive about it.
If America's electricity demand is going to increase by 35% by the year 2030 then there has been far too much "lip service" about energy development and not enough action. We need additional base power generation, and it will take a short term and a long term plan to address its increased cost. In the long term, expanding renewable energy like wind and solar, and increasing our nuclear energy will all play a role. The key though, may lie in unleashing American ingenuity and inventiveness to foster a new generation of clean and efficient energy alternatives. To do that, we need to invest in research, and training skilled energy professionals; and we need to reduce overly burdensome regulation, to streamline the permitting process and get projects on line faster. In the short term, we need to expand domestic oil and gas production, and focus on conservation, and researching cleaner ways to utilize coal.
Let's develop our existing resources using sound Best Management Practices and appropriate environmental stewardship, to create good-paying jobs and build our economy, so we can make some serious long-term investments in our infrastructure.