Dawn Allcot 9-8-2011; frequently covers energy efficiency, green living, and topics like LED lighting and whole home control systems for a number of technology trade magazines. Solar Power Reduces Our Dependency on Oil http://www.ecooutfitters.net/blog/2011/09/solar-power-reduces-our-dependency-on-oil/
Oil and the Middle East Unfortunately, one very significant aspect of U.S. life has not changed since the September 11 attacks, and that is our use of foreign oil. The entire Middle East is still a battlefield, yet we purchase one of our most crucial resources from this region. Statistics vary widely — some bloggers believe we purchase only 12 percent of our oil from the Middle East, while others guess the number is closer to 43 or even 50 percent. The U.S. Energy Administration published a table earlier this year that shows we import about 25 percent of our oil from the Middle East. Iraq is one of our country’s top ten crude oil sources. Are we entirely dependent on Middle Eastern oil? No. Is it significant to us? Absolutely. Any disruption in the supply of Middle Eastern oil, including war, tends to drive gas and home heating oil prices up. When gas prices go up, it costs more to transport our food supply and soon, grocery prices rise, too. (As an aside, this is just one reason eating locally grown food is a green and cost-effective practice.) Little Changes Make a Big DifferenceBut there’s good news. The fact that our country’s so-called “dependence” on Middle Eastern oil isn’t as bad as many believe means small changes can make a big difference. Changes like using solar hot water heat instead of oil to heat your hot water, or using solar PV panels for radiant floor heating can make a big difference in reducing the amount of oil our country needs. With only 5 percent of the world’s population, we use 27 percent of the world’s oil. Solar energy is one solution to reduce our oil consumption and our ties to the Middle East. It’s also cleaner than oil, easier to access, constantly renewable, and so far, the price of solar power is not connected to world politics. The more you think about all these factors, the case for solar power keeps getting brighter and brighter.