Refinery pump oil

The Iowa State Daily Editorial Board argues that renewable energy may be the best alternative to electricity generated by coal, gas or nuclear plants.

Nearly two weeks ago, a pair of oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia were the target of attacks on the Middle Eastern country. Though Houthi rebels in Yemen have taken credit, it is believed that Iran is behind the attacks.

The attacks consisted of a small number of drones and cruise missiles that went undetected by air defense systems. The result was an immediate 20 percent jump in oil prices as Saudi Arabia lost half of its oil production capabilities. While that spike settled down around a 10 percent increase, the attacks show how important certain countries are to maintaining cheap energy.

The United States actually went rather unaffected by the lapse in crude oil production as we don’t import a high percentage of the crude oil we use. But the attacks still raise concerns.

Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States and as such is allowed to purchase many of the weapons and defense systems our military utilizes, the very systems that failed to recognize the attacks and counter them. Even more frightening, U.S. troops were in Saudi Arabia during the attacks, leading to questions about our ability to protect our own.

The government has actually gone as far as to look into purchasing a foreign defense system as the U.S. doesn’t currently have a system designed to defend against the type of attacks Saudi Arabia suffered.

So what would happen if the United States suffered a series of drone and missile attacks on our energy infrastructure?

We’ve done an incredible job as a country of diversifying our energy generation, meaning a series of physical attacks is unlikely to have catastrophic effects. However, we are still susceptible.

Cyber attacks on our power grid put the entire country at risk because regardless of the method of generation, we ultimately use electricity to power our country.

So how do we protect ourselves from attacks on our energy independence beyond making our own energy using a variety of methods in a plethora of locations?

The key is to generate power closer to the end target. This further diversifies the location and method of power generation to enable more parts of the country to remain powered even if attacks are successful.

Now, it’s true; not everyone can have a coal-fired power plant in their backyard. Nor would you want to… but you can have a solar roof or hydroelectric generator or a wind farm.

Renewable energy offers many advantages over coal, gas and nuclear generated electricity. One could argue that renewable energy’s biggest advantage has nothing to do with global warming or emissions at all. 

Decentralizing our power supply is an incredibly effective way in strategically defending ourselves domestically. It encourages citizens to be self sufficient, or at least less reliant on highly vulnerable systems by putting the power (no pun intended) back in the hands of local authorities who can better understand the intricacies and needs of individual areas.

Making the switch to green energy doesn’t have to be solely an environmental issue. The global society we live in means that changing one aspect of our lives will have an impact on another, and if green energy means we’re safer, it sounds like a win-win.

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Letter to the Editor Submission Link

(2) comments

Steve Gregg

The fracking revolution is why the US was little affected by the Saudi attack. The US is now a net explorer of oil with more wells coming on line.

It's a pretty lame and biased complaint to say the US is to blame for the Saudi attacks, but typical of liberals, who always blame America first for everything. No matter how good the weapons we sell them, the Saudis lack the smarts and discipline to operate them effectively. They use our weapons more as scarecrows than weapons.

And, really, so what if our troops are in Saudi Arabia? They are not in the oil facilities. They are mostly trainers. Saudi Arabia is an ally only in the most cynical sense. It was the Saudis who led and financed the Sep 11 attacks and celebrated the mass murder of Americans. They will do it again if they get the chance. They hate us for being an infidel superpower.

Despite the claims of the military experts at the Iowa State Daily, the US has a defense against drones. It jams and scrambles them with an electromagnetic pulse.

Renewable energy is not the answer to anything. In general, it costs double and delivers half the energy per unit. It takes more energy to build windmills than they ever deliver and that energy is delivered unreliably at high cost. Most of all, the climate "crisis" that is used to justify renewable energy is nonsense from front to back, a popular delusion promoted by ninnies.

The best energy policy we can have is to open up public lands to fracking to drive the cost of oil down. Fossil fuels contribute most of the energy we use. We all live in a bubble of energy which keeps us safe and healthy, extends our lives, and gives us richer lives.

Jake Pierson

This was rough to read. In fact it was a waste of time to write and waste of time to read. The Editorial board obviously doesn't have anywhere near the knowledge needed to have a credible opinion on this matter. As college students i don't expect you to be experts on everything or really anything for that matter. But you should know when you are so clueless about a subject to just say nothing. Wisdom comes with experience but you aren't babies. Try to be wise enough to know when to just choose a different subject.

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