“Energy independence” was the battle cry in the United States toward the end of the 80s, when the price of imported oil grew double within only four years. The idea that America had to rely on foreign powers, often to those who weren’t particularly amiable to the country’s interests, grated against the citizens’ top-dog mentality.
Three decades later, however, U.S. has come a long way from depending most of its energy consumption on imported oil. This progress, powered primarily by the increase in natural gas and domestic oil production, has made the country more energy self-sufficient than ever.
But there is more reason to explore clean energy business opportunities because the current system is starting to take its toll on the environment.
Growing Energy Independence
The dirty secret of America’s growing self-sufficiency is that it is coming at significant harm to its people, its climate, and the planet. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that fracking contributes to water pollution, which the oil and gas industry continues to deny.
Researchers have also found a correlation between the extraction of oil and increased earthquakes. These problems are just the tip of the iceberg. Issues actually run deeper than contaminating freshwater supplies and rattling tectonic plates.
Methane – A Significant Climate Problem
Methane is essentially a natural gas that leaks unburned during its extraction, delivery, and use. It is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which makes it a huge contributor to current climate problems. A 24-author study published in the journal Science reveals that if a gas-fired plant replaces a coal-fired facility, there is no expected climate benefit for at least two decades.
As it turns out, this “energy independence” remains as elusive as ever. But if the country makes a big switch to renewable energy, the environment and the people would benefit immensely.