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Lecture 1

How should we define “energy” in this course – and why?
There is a wide variety of uses and sources

Why are you interested in energy?
Use of resources
Energy security

Does America face an “energy problem”? If so, what is it?
Running out
International dependence
Cost and market efficiency
Even if we don't run out it might get really expensive

Why haven’t all the smart people working in private business solved the problem?
Focused on the supply side because demand is so high
Lack of consensus about what should be done
Because the market doesn't solve externalities - pollution - it is a secondary or unintended consequence

Why do we all need to agree?
Climate change

What do you think Obama meant by “clean energy standard” “clean energy sources”
Environmental concerns
Renewables - solar, biomass, some uses of natural gas

Would this raise or lower the price of electricity?
Raise because there would be no federal push if it naturally fell

What drives the flow?
The demand and supply makes the market
Norms, values, and traditions affect the political process

What, if anything, does social science have to do with creating – or solving – the “energy problem”?
The system involves people

Why do some states use less energy per capita?
Lower density - a lot more driving
Air conditioning
State laws

How Can “Transformation” Happen?
Individuals demand more “clean/green”
New technologies supply cheap “clean/green” energy
Government research and development
Tighten environmental regulations
Social movement