So Much For America's Energy Independence
Oil and gas prices have remained high for weeks since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the US continues to feel the harsh effects of fossil fuel dependence. The Russian-fueled geopolitical crisis has proven that American energy security cannot rely on a single and ultimately finite fuel source. This is nothing new when it comes to America's energy independence plans. The argument to invest in renewable energy to protect Americans against energy volatility dates back to the Nixon Administration.
Despite renewable energy becoming a mature and viable solution to the ongoing crisis, lawmakers have yet to pass the historic investments in clean energy that would actually accelerate the transition to secure the nation’s energy independence.
Why This Matters
Stable energy policy is within reach for the US and Europe with the advancement of renewable energy in the last 50 years. Europe is already accelerating its transition to clean energy sources in the wake of the Ukraine crisis by ramping up the capacities of its wind and solar plants and creating financial incentives for consumers. If the US continues its streak of inaction, it could get left behind in this new era of energy independence.
DW: EU unveils plan to reduce Russia energy dependency, March 11, 2022.
IEA: A 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union's Reliance on Russian Natural Gas, March 3, 2022.
Just Drilling More Oil Can't Solve The Problem
Thanks to fracking, the US became the world’s largest oil and gas producer in 2018. It also became "energy independent,” producing more fossil fuels than it consumes. So why are oil and gas prices so high in the US right now? Because oil is priced on the international market, it actually makes the US more energy-dependent, which is why gas prices soared when Russia invaded Ukraine. Also, unlike OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia, the US cannot force oil companies to drill more or turn their oil taps on or off, which means the government has virtually no power to decrease gas prices. "Energy independence” in the US has not insulated Americans from the ongoing geopolitical crisis, nor has it provided us with sufficient emergency fuel stores to prevent the soaring gas prices seen today. It certainly has not helped to slow global warming.
CNBC: How The U.S. Can Build A 100% Clean Grid, January 27, 2021.