The current reprieve from high energy costs should be used to aggressively pursue an effective energy policy.
This site has discussed effective energy plans.
Energy Technology Plan
This site has proposed an energy plan with a greater focus on applying better energy technology. The plan is not solely focused on CO2 emissions.
Efficiency and drilling for regular and enhanced recovery, policy that discourages coal and fossil fuel and encourages nuclear and renewables. Try to reduce fuel usage 2-4% per year and try to increase oil from drilling and biofuels by 3-6% per year.
Accelerate the development and deployment of inflatable electric cars and adapting cars like the $2500 Tata nano to be plug in electric vehicles.
Accelerate the development and deployment of new building technology like Calera cement which removes one ton of CO2 for each ton of cement instead of adding one ton of CO2 to the air. If all cement worldwide were able to use this then instead of adding 2.35 billion tons of CO2/year there would be a removal of 2.35 billion tons.
Encourage the adoption of electric bikes and scooters. China has 80 million and is building 21 million per year. Electric scooters can reach highway speeds and folding e-bikes can be rolled onto public transit.
Build the factory mass producible meltdown proof high temperature nuclear reactors. Accelerate the factory mass producible Hyperion power Uranium hydride reactor. [currently targeting 2012 deployment]
Build the Fuji Molten salt reactor which can use thorium and can burn 99% of the thorium, uranium and plutonium which only leaves 30 year half life material.
Big nuclear buildup and thermoelectric and transmission efficiency Triple nuclear power by 2020 by using new (MIT annular nuclear fuel can increase power by 50% for existing reactors) uprate technology and advanced thermoelectrics and some new plants. (25% of all energy from nuclear instead of 8.2% and 17% less fossil fuel. First reduce coal first - 30,000 deaths from coal air pollution, 60,000 deaths from combined coal [over 13 times all US forces deaths from the current Iraq war] and fossil fuel air pollution in the USA. Plus moving 1.2 billion tons of coal is 40% of freight rail traffic and 10% of diesel fuel usage.) Can get up to six times more nuclear by 2030. Displace all coal and a lot of oil.
Very advanced nuclear fission and nuclear fusion and better renewables (geothermal, wind [kitegen, superconducting wind turbines], solar [concentrated solar in municipal or rural power configurations. My favorite is CoolEarth's solar balloons], genetically modified organisms for biofuel)
Also part of the near term steps, but which would not likely have impact until the mid-term is to fully fund the best nuclear fusion power generation possibilities. Create policies to accelerate research and deployment.
Time to Small Cost to Achieve Large scale chance
Concept Description Scale net energy Net Energy after small success Funded?
Plasma Focus 6 years $1M+ Sales X-scan 80% Y, $1.9m
Focus fusion website
Focus fusion US patent application
Working on a funded experiment with Chile 2006-2010
Bussard IEC Fusion 3-5 years $200 million 90% Y, $2m
My intro to Bussard fusion and update on prototype work
Tri-alpha Energy aka 8 years $75 million 60% Y, $50m
Colliding Beam fusion aka
Field Reversed Configuration
My review of the academic research before the funded stealth project
General Fusion aka 3-6 years $10-30 million 60% Y, $2m
Magnetized target fusion
Steam generated shock wave into spinning liquid metal
Multi-pole Ion beam
version of Bussard IEC 3-5 years $200 million 90% N
FP generation MIX IEC fusion
Koloc Spherical Plasma 10 years $25 million 80% N (self)
Attempt to create stable ball lightning plasma balls
In 2004, trying to generate 30-40cm plasma spheres
There should be a Darpa of energy created to fund high risk and high return energy technology.