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U.S. Energy Independence: Sooner Than We Think?
The concept of the United States becoming energy independent was unimaginable just a few years ago, but it is slowly becoming a reality. According to recent forecasts by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United States is likely to become the world’s largest oil producer by 2020, surpassing Saudi Arabia in the process. That’s not all. They also predicted that the U.S. will become energy independent ten years later.
Now how is this possible, you ask? The United States is currently in the midst of an oil boom; we have increased oil production by 14 percent and natural gas production by 10 percent over the last three years, as stated by the Energy Information Administration. New technologies, specifically hydraulic fracturing, have made it possible for our country to massively increase the production of these resources. As a result, estimates have been made that the U.S. will have the resources to provide its own energy by as early as 2030.
Although hydraulic fracturing remains a rather controversial topic, the IEA states that fracking will push oil production to over 11 million barrels a day and gas extraction to 747 billion cubic meters a day by 2020. IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven agrees, “North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world.” Some of the states currently active in hydraulic fracturing include Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming, with several other states still in the decision process.
Many know that the U.S. rests upon major natural gas reservoirs, so when fracking became popular, everyone began switching from harmful coal to cleaner natural gas. Gas is a much more environmentally friendly option as it releases about half the amount of greenhouse gases that coal does. Some utilities even made the switch to cheap natural gas in order to lower power bills. Georgia Power, for example, has cited a 19 percent drop in fuel costs and therefore plans to cut Atlanta-area electricity rates by 6 percent.
In addition, energy independence will, undoubtedly, reduce our reliance on foreign countries. Forecasts have shown that within the next couple years, our oil and gas import costs may drop by roughly $175 billion. This is a pretty impressive figure that will certainly aid in addressing our country’s financial concerns, such as alleviating the national debt. More advantages will make themselves known as our energy independence approaches.
Energy Curtailment Specialists, Inc.