Power demands call for energy innovation

Our energy needs grow by the day.

"America is addicted to oil," says President George W. Bush.

Between 1970 and 2001 the United States Energy Department says our consumption nearly doubled. It's expected to double again by 2030. At that rate, energy experts predict that oil production will peak within the next 10 to 30 years, followed by a diminishing supply that will have serious consequences on our economy and the way we live -- unless we make some dramatic changes.

Scientists with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory say we need to become energy farmers, instead of energy hunters by using more renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.

As you know, the process has already started but we are a long way from shaking our addiction to oil. In California, renewable energy provides less than 13 percent of what we use. However, change is coming and the Bay Area has become the home for renewable energy study.

"This is the place to be for energy in the world right now," says Chris Somerville, the Director of Energy at the BioScience Institute.

You can see the latest developments as ABC7 takes you to the labs and fields where work going on now may provide for our future needs.

The only question is, can we farm enough energy before the oil and gas run out?

"I am still convinced in 10 years we will see a $1.99 renewable biofuels in every Wal-Mart in America," says Vinod Khosla, a green technology venture capitalist.

Whether it's biofuel or something else, many scientists believe they will find the answer right here in the Bay Area.

In the following set of stories, you can see some of the ways the local engineers, scientists, and professors are working toward alternative energy solutions.

Scientists say even if massive new oil fields are discovered in the future, the need to develop alternative energies should continue to prevent the acceleration of climate change.

It took hundreds of millions of years to create the fossil fuels we use to run our cars and power our homes, but it's taken less than 200 years to use up a big portion of it.

>> JEBI looks at replacing fossil fuels

>> Back to all Energy Innovation stories

This report was written and produced by Mike Sterling.

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