• Currently, 80% of electricity in France is generated by nuclear power.
Notice that I haven't included hydroelectric dams (we've gone about as far as we can with those) and coal ("clean coal" is a myth). The jury's still out on ethanol – it works, but at a serious environmental cost (water).
But the key is, if America really tried, we can be energy-independent. How? If all the different sources of alternative energy are used in concert, we will not need coal-fired plants. Furthermore, if we make hybrid and electric cars the norm rather than the exception, our need for oil from Islamic nations plummets – and possibly disappears. We will not in the foreseeable future ever be free from the need for oil, for it will always be needed for lubrication, for plastics, and for 1,001 other uses under the sun – but we can wean our nation off foreign oil.
BUT THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN.
Why? First off, America has some of the cheapest oil in all the developed world – and with the oil being so cheap, it's difficult to get alternative energies off the ground. Second, Big Oil is one of the most powerful influences in American politics – see "Drill, baby, drill," and in a close-to-party-line vote, Senate Republicans blocked the Democrats' attempt to eliminate taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil despite the fact that Big Oil is raking in record profits while the average gallon of gas is close to four dollars! It should be noted that the Republicans were not happy with President Obama's State of the Union address when he proposed taking those subsidies and using them to develop alternative energy. For all practical purposes, Big Oil owns the Republican party...but really, why is it that the Republicans – and Fox News – strive so hard to protect Big Oil? We'll answer that one in a couple of minutes.
Now the OPEC nations must be amused when they see how hard the Republicans are striving to protect Big Oil. They know that China is now the world's largest manufacturer of solar panels and wind turbines (too bad we can't use Big Oil's taxpayer subsidies to open such plants in, say, Detroit), and they know that most of the first-world nations are beginning to really get a clue when it comes to alternative energy and energy efficiency – except for the United States. You see, in this interview on CNN, we were quite frankly told that we're their cash cow:
Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal said Sunday that he wants oil prices to drop so that the United States and Europe don't accelerate efforts to wean themselves off his country's supply.