Editor's Note: this week Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, is providing the question.
We face numerous energy policy challenges as a nation, but perhaps none looms larger right now than energy security. The recent and ongoing instability in the Middle East is yet another reminder that the United States remains heavily dependent on foreign nations--not all of them friendly--to meet much of our energy needs. In my view, energy security, along with the move towards cleaner energy, is the number one policy challenge facing the United States.
Can we "kick the oil habit?" That's been a popular topic in Washington, as well as an elusive goal, for many years. In reality, oil will continue to have an important place in our energy mix. But we do need to dramatically expand efforts to harness our domestic energy resources. The transformation of the nation's transportation fleet to one fueled in large part by domestically-produced electricity can gradually help wean the United States from its dependence on foreign energy sources.
As one of 15 Consumer Advisory Board members for the Chevy Volt, I've had the good fortune to test out one of the cars that will change the way America drives--and where it gets its fuel. The first wave of PEVs already is hitting major US markets, as car manufacturers join utilities in embracing electricity as a significant transportation fuel.
So, what happens next? There is bipartisan support for EVs in Congress, as well as support from the national security community. President Obama has set a goal of 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. How close can we get? What are the biggest hurdles, and what do you see as the biggest potential benefits?