As we celebrate the 4th of July, we also celebrate the progress the US has made toward energy independence.
The International Energy Agency and oil corporations project that the US will reach energy independence by 2035. But fossil fuels alone aren’t the answer.
The US spends about $300 billion every year importing oil. If the country became energy independent, that expense could shrink and, more important, that amount would be reinvested in the domestic economy. Over-dependence on importing energy (and carbon-emitting fossil fuels) stunts economic growth and domestic green career development.
In short, we can’t rely simply on shale oil and natural gas to become self-sufficient.
Here are 2 steps toward achieving energy independence:
- Expanding renewables. Solar power in particular is experiencing rapid growth, and careers in the green sector are vital to national economic development. As the Solar Foundation notes, “US solar companies continue hiring faster than the overall economy, and remain optimistic about future growth.”
True energy independence requires investments in renewables– investments that will pay off for years. Renewables, unlike fossil fuels, will help us find “climate justice.” By closing the climate gap, we can improve the health of citizens, combat severe weather that endangers our agricultural industries, and protect coastal communities.
One of the biggest advantages renewables have over doubling-down on domestic oil and gas production is that renewables combat climate change. This year, President Obama has been vocal about his support for strategies that cut carbon emissions and improve our renewable energy infrastructure. His approach includes empowering the EPA to enforce carbon pollution standards for existing and new power plants, allocating billions of dollars in loans for renewable projects, improving fuel efficiency in automobiles, and bolstering the Better Building Challenge.
- Supporting community-owned power. Energy independence plays out on both the macro- and micro-level. Increasingly, municipalities and community groups are embracing shared solar projects, which allow everyone to invest in– and benefit from– renewable energy. Energy independence can also be a personal decision– check out the infographic below to see how individuals become energy self-sufficient.
Praxia Partners’ initiative, Community Renewable Energy, supports the development of community-owned solar projects so that everyone has the opportunity to join in the energy independence revolution.