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The Conservation Alternative
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Of all of the issues involved in our national energy dilemma, the matter of conservation of energy has, without a doubt, received major attention. Much has been said on the subject and certainly a great deal has been written on the many facets of this alternative going all the way back to before the oil embargo. Most vivid, perhaps, in our memories is an early major study of our national energy problem; the Ford Foundation's "A Time To Choose" and its controversial proposal of zero energy growth as a purported solution to the energy problem. And, of course, who can ever forget "Project Independence." Since those days, increasingly more rational views have been published on the impact of conservation on energy demand in our country and the contribution that the more efficient use of energy can make to the ultimate solution of the problem. Perhaps, most rational of all is the assessment in a recently published study on energy futures entitled "Energy - Global Prospects; 1985-2000." This study, in which I am proud to have participated, was sponsored by M.I.T. and released last year. The study involved over 75 people - bankers, economists, academicians, and business leaders from 15 countries - for two and a half years in an analysis of various national and global energy relationships and problems. One of the conclusions of this study was, and I quote - "Energy conservation is essential. Conservation may be our best, cheapest, and most accessible alternative energy source. It, unquestionably, must play a central role in global and national energy strategies. However, demand for energy will continue to grow even if governments adopt vigorous policies to conserve energy. "-- unquote. This, I believe, clearly sums up the important role that conservation can and must play in the solution of our national energy problem; but, hopefully, it also puts to rest the notion that this alternative is the total answer to the worsening energy difficulties of our nation.
Allaire, W. F. (1979). The Conservation Alternative. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from