America now occupies a position of energy leadership that was unthinkable a short time ago. These developments are strengthening America’s energy and economic security and benefiting tens of millions of individuals.
With both American and world energy demand expected to increase in the future, the continued availability of the full range of America’s energy resources will continue to grow in importance.
What does a Balanced Energy solution include?
- Hydropower. Hydropower is the nation’s largest source of renewable energy, contributing 80 gigawatts of contention and 20 gigawatts of pumped storage energy to meet the country’s demands. Keeping the more than 2,000 hydropower facilities functioning optimally employs approximately 300,000 domestic workers and a supply chain of more than 2,500 companies from coast to coast.
- Solar. Solar accounted for a record 53 percent of all new electric generation capacity installed in the first half of 2014, pushing solar to the front as the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America.
- Geothermal. Currently, the U.S. contributes about 3.6 gigawatts of the global 12.1 gigawatt geothermal energy capacity. Geothermal power capacity has grown every year since the mid-1980s, and it’s expected to increase 4-to-5% each year for the rest of the decade.
- Nuclear. Today, nuclear generates 63% of America’s carbon-free electricity, all while the U.S. nuclear energy program continues to be the hallmark of safety worldwide.
- Oil & Natural Gas. Since 2008, America’s crude oil production has surged by 70 percent, rising from an average of 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 8.6 million barrels per day in August 2014. The United States is now the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas, surpassing both Saudi Arabia and Russia, historically two top energy producers.
A Balanced Energy Solution Makes Sense for the Future
A balanced energy solution is the best approach to continuing America's surge as a world energy leader. It invests in American ingenuity to develop and expand new sources and technologies while finding innovative ways to maximize existing sources and create efficiencies.
A balanced energy solution includes commitments to and investments in conservation, renewable energy (e.g., solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and biomass); fossil fuels (e.g., natural gas, oil and coal); and nuclear. A balanced energy solution must protect our environment while meeting increasing demands.
We must recognize that although we may prefer to invest primarily in renewable sources, such as solar and wind, we must not ignore the role fossil fuels will play for decades to come, as they are expected to account for ore than 60% of our energy needs in coming decades, even under the most aggressive scenarios of alternative energy development.
As Americans, we are responsible for educating ourselves on energy solutions, using energy wisely and efficiently, supporting companies and organizations that help build energy security, and holding our President and members of Congress accountable for responsible energy policies.
A Balanced Energy Solution Includes Development of all Sources, including Domestic Drilling for Oil and Natural Gas
Development of all sources of energy — including solar, wind, biomass, and nuclear — is clearly the road to secure our energy future. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that 25 years from now oil natural gas, will still account for 62% of the country’s energy consumption.
Expanding the exploration for and development of sources of oil and natural gas are also necessary to help Americans meet continued demand while we develop alternative energy sources and increasingly fuel-efficient technologies.
A Balanced Energy Solution Will Create Jobs
Development of a balanced energy solution will create new jobs for Americans.
Increased energy development in the oil and natural gas industry led to the creation of 600,000 new American jobs between 2009 and 2011. Expanded drilling, development of new solar and wind technologies, more efficient biomass, new nuclear plants and research into alternative energy sources and technologies generate opportunities at all levels, including engineering, construction, manufacturing, management, and services.
Job creation in turn promotes a more secure America by spurring economic growth across all sectors. Americans must take a comprehensive view of the economic, environmental, and national security impacts of all our energy options and resources, and support balanced, thoughtful and methodical policies that will continue America’s status as a global energy leader.
A Balanced Energy Solution Promotes Security
Thanks to remarkable advances in technology, we are now able to access stores of oil and natural gas right here in the North Americas that have been previously inaccessible to us. That means we are decreasing our reliance on imported energy from foreign sources who may be in unstable regions or don't necessarily share America's best interests.
But many people do not realize how the industry affects our country’s economic security. There is no question—a thriving domestic oil and gas industry is vital to America’s energy and economic security. With the right policies in place, the industry can contribute even more which would also spur growth in manufacturing, transportation, technology, accounting services and in the larger U.S. economy.
"Pro-development energy policies could add 2.3 million U.S. jobs and add $443 billion per year to the U.S. economy by 2035, according to a study by Wood Mackenzie: A comparison of U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Policies – Pro Development Policies vs. Proposed Regulatory Constraints, released Tuesday by API. Conversely, the study found that a path of regulatory constraints proposed by the Obama administration could lead to 830,000 lost jobs and lead to a decrease of $133 billion per year in the U.S. economy." American Petroleum Institute, June, 2015.
The oil and gas industry also contributes to retirement security for millions of Americans. A 2011 study found that, on average, oil and gas stocks comprise 4.6 percent of state pension fund assets, yet provide 15.7 percent of the returns—a ratio of 3.4 to 1.
So in short, remeber the oil and natural gas industry goes beyond energy. It is also a powerful engine to providing America with economic and national security as well.
But for this remarkable progress to continue, government policies must keep pace with America’s energy revolution.
The following are a few examples where access to additional domestic oil and natural gas resources could increase America's energy security, but are being kept off-limits to development:
- The Eastern Gulf of Mexico could hold 5 billion barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
- Opening the Atlantic coastline could make available 4.7 billion barrels of oil and 37 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Alaska Outer Continental Shelf holds 26 Bbl of undiscovered oil and 131 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas.
- The Pacific coast is estimated to contain 10 billion barrels of oil and 16 tcf of gas.
America need policies that will allow domestic companies to develop oil and natural gas resources here in the United States. With advances in technology and stringent standards and procedures based on decades of experience, the industry can safely and efficiently develop our domestic resources and create jobs, revenue and energy security for our nation.
Sixty-six percent of voters said they would support political candidates who back increased oil and natural gas production. The belief is strong regardless of political party affiliation: 55% of Democrats, 61% of Independents, and 82% of Republicans said they are more likely to vote for candidates who support expanded oil and natural gas production.
The administration and Congress should listen to the American people, and create the energy policies our nation needs.