America is wrestling with the worst energy crisis in nearly five decades, a period of high prices and limited supply. What makes this crisis different than the troubles that roiled the country in the 1970s is how it started and the fixes required to make it end.
This current challenge began with a decade of affordable power that upended the U.S. energy world. The rise of fracking, which extracts oil and gas from shale rock, unlocked cheap domestic supplies while cleaner energy provided by wind and solar farms became far less expensive. Gasoline and oil prices fell while gas-fired power and renewable power pushed aside costlier—and politically less popular—coal and nuclear plants.