What if there were a source of carbon-free energy that in a single year in the U.S. drew $300 billion in private investment, supported 1.6 million jobs, and generated 1.7 quads of energy, roughly equivalent to the total energy required to run 40 mid-sized coal plants?

We would drill anywhere, dig up anything, go to war with anyone for that kind of energy, right?

But the source is efficiency, so we don’t much talk about it, we don’t make it a central focus of energy policy, and we don’t take advantage of the enormous energy savings that could be generated with a more rational and concerted national strategy. We blunder ahead with skyrocketing demand, which drives us into coal mines, oil shale fields, and foreign entaglements, when smart use of existing energy efficiency technologies and techniques could cost-effectively cut U.S. energy demand by 25-30% in the next 20-25 years.

Or to be more brief: read this report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.