The National Academies: Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

Looking Ahead

The future holds great promise. New discoveries, advanced technologies, and high-tech engineering may transform the energy landscape – and with it the shape of society. Public-private partnerships will play an important role in the development of these new technologies and will increase the chances of their adoption in the marketplace. But our energy makeover will be a very gradual and uneven process. The current energy infrastructure is huge – and hugely valuable. Changing it will and should be a careful, deliberative matter unaffected by sudden popular enthusiasms or technological fads.

One thing is certain: There will be no single “silver bullet” solution to our energy needs. Tomorrow's energy, like today's, will come from a robust variety of sources. New devices, processes, and systems will surely be offered, but not every new technology works, and even those that do are not always adopted by consumers. If the history of human ingenuity is a reliable guide, however, America will find ways to flourish on energy that is sustainable, responsible, and secure.

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Introduction | Sources and Uses | Supply and Demand | Improving Efficiency | Emerging Technologies | Looking Ahead | References and Credits

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