Last updated on: 6/18/2021 | Author: ProCon.org

Will Alternative Energy Development Increase US Energy Independence and Security?

PRO (yes)

Pro

US Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), in a June 17, 2021 article, “A World Without Fossil Fuels Funding Our Enemies Would Be a Safer World for America,” available at time.com, stated:

“[A] global transition to renewable energy would greatly assist in our nation’s fight against the world’s most corrupt and illicit regimes. If you could wave a magic wand, and transition the world away from fossil fuels, Americans would instantly be safer.

Oil and gas development has often been associated with autocracy and corruption. Governments in countries such as Russia and Iran have used oil and gas to threaten neighbors and fund terrorism. Corruption, autocracy, and terrorism are a persistent threat to nations that stand on the rule of law, and America has long been the exemplar of the rule-of-law nation. A world in which oil and gas money has less power is a world that will likely have less corruption, autocracy, and terror. That world will be a safer world for America.

Our point today is not about climate change. That has its own set of national security concerns. This is about who our friends are and who our foes are; and what the stabilizing and destabilizing forces in our world are. This is about where our foes, and the forces they employ like terror and corruption, get their resources. All too often, it’s from extractive industries like oil and gas. Some see this as a “resource curse” in which countries with wealth to extract fail to develop healthy models of governance. One need not agree on the reasons to observe the fact, and we cannot leave the damage unaddressed.

The fact is simple: a world without fossil fuel resources funding foreign adversaries would be a safer world for America.”

June 17, 2021

Pro

Freedom Solar Power, a solar power contractor, in a June 14, 2018 article, “Energy Independence through Solar,” available at freedomsolarpower.com, stated:

“As the U.S. increases our use of domestic solar and other renewable energy sources, we become less and less dependent upon foreign sources of fossil fuels. The continuing move toward energy independence cultivates improved economic and environmental stability for the U.S. and every other country striving to make the change. It also allows a country to be more flexible in international political interactions.”

June 14, 2018

Pro

Rebecca Harrington, Deputy Editor of Business Insider, in a July 15, 2017 article, “There’s Only One Way for the US to Reach Energy Independence,” available at businessinsider.com, stated:

“It’s easy to see why we should produce our own energy — relying on other countries for oil, natural gas, and coal (the biggest sources used today) can get complicated. It can lead to wars, or compromise our relationships with foreign powers….

Fossil fuels will eventually run out around the world, however. Experts estimate that the US only has enough natural gas reserves to last 93 more years, and enough coal to last about 283 years.

Putting politics aside, there is only one surefire way to be completely and indefinitely energy independent: adopt 100% renewable energy.

The US will always have its wind, sunlight, and water… True energy independence can only be unlocked when America wholeheartedly embraces renewables.”

July 15, 2017

Pro

George W. Bush, MBA, 43rd President of the United States, stated at the Dec. 19, 2007 signing of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (HR 6):

“The legislation I am signing today [Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, HR 6] will address our vulnerabilities and our dependence in two important ways. First, it will increase the supply of alternative fuel sources. I proposed an alternative fuel standard earlier this year. This standard would require fuel producers to include a certain amount of alternative fuels in their products. This standard would create new markets for foreign products used to produce these fuels. This standard would increase our energy security by making us less vulnerable to instability–to the instability of oil prices on the world market.

The bill I sign today takes a significant step because it will require fuel producers to use at least 36 billion gallons of biofuel in 2022. This is nearly a fivefold increase over current levels. It will help us diversify our energy supplies and reduce our dependence on oil.”

Dec. 19, 2007 - George W. Bush, MBA

CON (no)

Con

Fred Keller, US Representative (R-PA), in a Feb. 5, 2020 article, “America’s Energy Independence Has Contributed to the Great American Comeback,” available at thehill.com, stated:

“To be sure, America’s energy independence has made our country more secure, put more money back in our pockets, and in rural areas—like those across central and northeast Pennsylvania—led to an economic explosion not seen in generations.

The United States is now the world leader in oil and natural gas production and a net exporter of natural gas…

These positive results are attributable to President Trump prioritizing production of America’s fossil fuels and the ability of places like central and northeast Pennsylvania to supply the increasing demand for American-made energy…

These positive steps have led to America’s energy independence, a development which is as timely as it is important for our national security.

The less reliant the United States and our allies are on energy resources produced by countries that hate us, the less influence they have over us.”

Feb. 5, 2020

Con

The Institute for Energy Research, an energy research nonprofit, in a May 11, 2020 article, “The United States Was Energy Independent in 2019 for the First Time since 1957,” available at instituteforenergyresearch.org, stated:

“U.S. energy production in 2019 was higher than U.S. energy consumption for the first time in 62 years. Thus, the U.S. attained the long-held goal of “energy independence”—which is not to say that we did not import or export energy, but that we produced more energy than we used. One can thank the oil and gas industry and its use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for that milestone as production in those industries increased a combined 11 percent in 2019. Total U.S. energy production increased by 5.7 percent in 2019 while U.S. energy demand decreased by 0.9 percent. The United States produced 101.0 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) of energy and consumed 100.2 quads last year. Fossil fuels accounted for 80 percent of both energy consumption and production in 2019…

Despite the major push for renewable energy by environmentalists, fossil fuels still produce the majority of the energy that we consume today. Renewable energy’s share of the 2019 U.S. energy consumption market has only grown by 4 percentage points in 62 years, despite costing the taxpayer billions of dollars in subsidies. One only needs to watch the Michael Moore film, Planet of the Humans, to understand the folly in using taxpayer money to promote renewable energy, after we have finally achieved domestic energy independence.”

May 11, 2020

Con

Robert J. Michaels, PhD, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, stated in a Dec. 20, 2007 National Review Online article titled “Hot Air and Wind: A National Renewable Power Requirement”:

“A renewable portfolio standard is irrelevant to promises of energy independence and security. Over 95 percent of our power comes from domestic or nearby sources: coal (49 percent), gas (20 percent), uranium (20 percent), and water (7 percent). None of these resources is insecure or held hostage by foreign actors.”

Dec. 20, 2007 - Robert J. Michaels, PhD

Con

J. Robinson West, JD, Chairman and Founder of PFC Energy, in a July 10, 2008 US News & World Report article titled “Two Takes: Energy Independence Is Neither Practical nor Attainable,” stated:

“‘Energy independence’ is a favored placebo – a rarely defined goal trotted out for energy crises but not achieved. A sensible definition: a condition in which foreign powers can neither interrupt our energy supplies nor affect prices…

Many politicians want to substitute other domestically produced liquid fuels for oil and assure the public that they are around the corner. They are not.

There is now no liquid fuel that can largely replace oil for transportation. We are stuck because of the scale of the industry and – despite criticism – oil’s efficiency. A gallon of gas, refined from African oil, is cheaper than a gallon of Maine sparkling water. Political alternatives like corn-based ethanol have required huge subsidies and convulsed food markets but produced only 430,000 barrels per day in 2007 – 2 percent of U.S. oil consumption…

Politicians pose with gimmicks like hydrogen cars, but they will have little near-term impact. Breakthrough technologies, such as cellulosic ethanol, are theoretically attractive – but don’t exist.”

July 10, 2008 - J. Robinson West, JD