As temperatures rise this summer and people turn on their air conditioners, the stakeholders in the electricity supply system worry about system overload. To help prevent overload, people can use less by conserving energy or find more efficient ways to use the energy they do. As researchers develop new technologies, and industry tries to promote those technologies, policy advocates look at long-term projections. This Topic in Depth explores the energy crisis and reviews some of the current technologies and energy-saving resources.
This first site from the U.S. Department of Energy (1) offers an overview of some of the key issues surrounding current discussions of energy: "reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and developing energy efficient technologies for buildings, homes, transportation, power systems and industry." Given that any technology developed to make our energy-using appliances more efficient requires consumers' purchase and use of these new technologies, it makes sense that some industry stakeholders, such as Pacific Gas and Electric (2) describes the smart energy technology being developed by researchers at UC Berkeley's Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITIRS) that will monitor household energy usage so people know what energy they are using. Meanwhile, other researchers continue to pursue renewable energy technologies, such as those highlighted on this website from the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (4). This website (5) describes an initiative by EPRI to collaborate with various stakeholders to develop an Electricity Technology Roadmap for the next 25 years. This website from the Smithsonian (6) describes a project "to document the story of electrical power restructuring in North America as it unfolds over the coming years," offering electricity basics, a history of energy science and usage, an overview of deregulation, and an image gallery. Finally, this website from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (7) serves as an all-around resource on research, policy and other resources.