The big issue regarding energy efficiency relates to the United States burning so much fossil fuel - mainly coal - and how that can be an environmental negative. So, we talk a big talk about nuclear, except we don’t want such plants in our backyards - any of our backyards. We talk about hydro but can’t seem to build the dams to do it due to maybe dislocating folks. We talk solar, wind, and biomass but can’t make it cost effective.

But then there is China whose National Development and Reform Commission is in the midst of a five-year plan that accelerates the construction of nuclear and hydroelectric power plants.

At least four nuclear plant construction projects are in the equation and the Three Gorges dam project on the Yellow River has already been talked about much in the media, mainly due to huge migrations of people from areas that will be underwater as the result of the project. Meanwhile, the country is paying the typical lip services to wind power generation, biomass power generation, and solar energy, just as we do in the United States, without much result so far.

It will be interesting to see how many pieces of the energy puzzle fall into place over in China. If they work, we will know that a country can come up with ways to rely on alternatives to coal.

Of course, in China the government simply decrees that something will be done, and it is done. The United States relies on the voice of the people and - for better or worse - that can be a roadblock.