Via TH: GE has collaborated on a report concluding that America could meet its entire electrical demand through offshore wind power alone. This may not be an altruistic gamble (hi Dave!), but I’ll sure take it.

The report itself (PDF) is really great news. One of the things I find so odd about the so-called realists out there: If we ever expect to provide an energy-intense standard of living for the rest of the planet’s population, renewables are the only way it will ever happen. From sea to shining sea — including the land in between — the U.S. has several times more wind power then it needs. Add solar, and the U.S. starts to look positively blessed. Forget being the Saudi Arabia of CoalTM — America is the Saudi Arabia of renewables. Globally, countries like China and India will only be able to build a pleasant way of life through conservation, renewables, and efficiency. End of story.

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Meanwhile, the global stocks of coal, oil, and natural gas look meager and unattractive. We’ve got limitless energy literally falling from the sky, but we’re putting all this effort in to the scraps left over from our century-long binge. To borrow Bucky Fuller’s concept of energy income, human civilization is “earning” billions every day in sun and wind energy, but we’re busy squabbling over who gets to inherit Dad’s Discover card.

Greens have put a lot of stock in efficiency, and with good reason. Still, we should also point out that even with our current profligacy, renewables can still deliver what conventional energy sources can’t: a future.

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