Energy Secretary Steven Chu is right to point out that the unabated underwater gusher in the Gulf of Mexico shows the weakness of failing to develop a balanced national energy strategy.

That’s the light with which we should view Chu’s visit to Maine’s fledgling deep water wind demonstration center, which is expected to begin experimenting in the waters off Monhegan for a four-month test in 2012.

Chu has set the goal of producing 20 percent of the nation’s electricity from wind, and to meet that goal, offshore wind farms such as those envisioned at the University of Maine Advance Structures and Composites Center could play a big role.

But no one technological breakthrough will replace oil for many decades to come.

Significant changes in the ways that we use energy will have to come along with changes in the types of energy we use. Maine is heavily reliant on oil, but even if the dream of a massive wind farm 10 miles off our coast was immediately realized, it wouldn’t lessen our dependence of fossil fuels.

Mainers use oil for home heating and transportation, and a new electrical source would not automatically change that. It would likely just replace existing sources of generation. In Canada, where electricity is less expensive, people use it to heat their homes. That won’t happen here unless electric prices come down, regardless of the source.

More immediate ways to reduce our dependence on oil would be investing in weatherization so that people can heat their homes with less, or driving more-efficient cars.

We won’t be rescued by a single technological stroke. Ending oil addiction will take the development of a variety of energy sources as well as changes in the way we live.