字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Male Narrator: Americans used to rely on animal power for transportation and to carry goods from place to place. And oil from whales to light our evenings. Today it's gasoline and motor vehicles, and vast amounts of electricity to light our cities and power our economy. But one study claims that Americans spend just six minutes a year focusing on energy. The American public does not like to think about its energy use. The one place Americans do think about energy use is when they're standing at the pump. Narrator: Global demand makes oil prices rise and fall in response to events beyond our borders and out of our control. We worry about how our economy gets buffeted. And the only way we do something about that is to take into our own hands our destiny. Narrator: In this program, we look at how America uses energy. And we'll meet people like you who are helping their communities find new sustainable resources and save energy. Conservation, energy efficiency, has already been something that the U.S. has had tremendous achievement in. And it is something, as the fifth fuel, that can be very, very important for our future. Narrator: Tapping that fifth fuel can be as challenging as drilling for oil or gas. But powering communities in these new ways also empowers people. We can control the things that go on in our home. We can control the things that go on in our communities. I'm a Republican. What is more conservative than harnessing what is available and around us in a long-term sustainable way? Narrator: Our program's host, earth scientist Richard Alley, knows the dangers of climate change. But he also teaches about energy at Penn State. And he's optimistic that Americans can build a sustainable future. Some states and cities are rolling up their sleeves and moving ahead. These citizens are heroes of America's new energy story and show the way to a sustainable energy future. The good news is we don't have to wait for the national policies. Narrator: Helping ourselves with clean energy is also helping earth's climate. The atmosphere doesn't care one whit what people think. The atmosphere cares what people do. Narrator: We visit five very different communities, from Alaska to Texas, Portland to Baltimore plus Kansas, in America's heartland, to find out how they're developing new sources of energy, or cutting waste, and why strategies like those make sense for all of us. Female Narrator: Energy Quest USA - Earth: The Operators' Manual is made possible by NSF, the National Science Foundation, where discoveries begin. Narrator: Sometimes when Americans hear energy, the next word that comes to mind is crisis. It really doesn't have to be that way. Shirley Jackson, former head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and now president of one of America's leading technical universities, thinks the United States is actually well-placed. Well, the U.S. is lucky because we have such a diversity of climates and diversity of geologies and in the end, diversity of actual energy sources. And that, in fact, makes us very fortunate compared to other parts of the world. They may have a given source of energy, but they don't have the multiple sources. Narrator: Alaska, like the rest of America, has been addicted to oil. Now, can abundant sustainable options make it America's renewable state? Kodiak Island, Alaska at 3,600 square miles is about half the size of New Jersey. Getting around almost always involves a boat, or a plane, or a float-plane that's a bit of both. Kodiak's population is less than 14,000, leaving most of the island undeveloped and natural. That beauty is one of Kodiak's economic assets, bringing tourists to watch bears raising cubs and catching fish. Kodiak's human population also catches salmon, with fish exports providing another key source of jobs and income. The island wants to limit imports of dirty and expensive fossil fuels, and tap natural resources to supply as much clean and locally generated energy as possible. Fuel prices, because we live on an island, are very expensive. You know, you learn pretty quickly that you need an alternative. Narrator: Kodiak was the first place in Alaska to make wind power a substantial part of the energy mix, with its three 1.5 megawatt turbines on Pillar Mountain. So getting good quality, low-cost sustainable power is really necessary for the long-term viability of the economy of Alaska. Narrator: Upgrades at the Terror Lake hydro-electric plant, plus plans for three more turbines leave the KEA co-op confident they can hit 95% renewables by 2020. Though Kodiak uses diesel as a backup and during repairs, the wind turbines save the island 800,000 gallons of expensive, imported fuel each year. And this matters to the local business community. This morning, we're offloading pink salmon and red salmon, chum salmon and coho that came from the west side of Kodiak-- it keeps us busy, the plants work 24 hours a day, and it's a very, very big industry for Kodiak. Narrator: This processing plant runs 100% on renewable energy, so Kodiak's wind power provides a clean, green marketing hook. The package says, sustainable seafood, produced in Kodiak, Alaska, with wind-generated renewable energy. You got some folks in the community that are really concerned about price. You know, they just want the lowest cost power at their house or at their business. The wind does that. It's less than 50% of the cost of power versus diesel. Then you got folks in the town that are very just, environmentally concerned. And they are incredibly excited, because it's a whole lot cleaner than diesel is. And then you've got the majority of folks who want both, which is great as well. Narrator: Kodiak is a genuine island, surrounded by ocean, but vast areas of interior Alaska are also islands of habitation, small communities surrounded by open country and dense forests. Many have no road access, and the only way to transport heavy fuel is via rivers like the Yukon. Bear Ketzler is city manager of Tanana, a remote and mainly native Alaskan village at the confluence of the Yukon and Tanana Rivers. 90% of our bulk freight that comes in, comes by the barge. Narrator: That includes diesel for the power plant and heating oil for homes. Diesel prices increased 83% between 2000 and 2005, and utility costs can sometimes be more than 1/3 of a household's income. The increase of energy costs, it jeopardizes everything. It jeopardizes our school, it really jeopardizes the ability for the city to function effectively. Narrator: Communities like Tanana rely on the river for the fish protein that's a large part of a subsistence diet. And the river also provides a cheap and local source of energy. We have abundant resources of wood, biomass. Wood that floats down the river, in the spring and the fall time. Narrator: Timber is increasingly replacing oil and diesel in Tanana's communal buildings, like the washeteria, a combination laundromat, public showers and water treatment plant. Right now, we don't even need oil, we're just running the whole place off this one wood boiler, which is just amazing.