US energy security is on the rise

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As we move deeper into presidential campaign season, the two nominees have started discussing energy and one candidate has focused on energy independence for the U.S. Earlier this year, the U.S. Chamber released its 2016 International Index of Energy Security Risk. The Report measures security over the period from 1980 to 2014 – the U.S. has moved up two spaces to the 4th most secure nation in the world. The Akron Beacon Journal commented on the improvement in a recent article "U.S. energy security risk improving due to shale drilling."

Energy security and energy independence are two sides of the same coin. When the U.S. can develop its domestic resources and limit its energy imports, we gain both independence from foreign sources and greater security. The key to the improved U.S. position is the development of the shale resource. The Report states:

The shale revolution continues to drive total U.S. energy risks downward, both absolutely and measured against the average of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries. Since 2000, the United States has improved its energy security relative to the OECD average, going from a total score 8 percent greater than to 5 percent less than the OECD average in 2014. Over the same period, its rank rose from 10 to 4. This vastly improved U.S. position in reference to its peers is due primarily to the huge increase in unconventional oil and natural gas production from shale formations.

One issue should dwarf the national energy debate this year – how will the presidential candidate work to maximize the potential of the shale resource. Yes, we should discuss renewable energy options, infrastructure, grid security and others. But all these issues pale in comparison to the importance of shale to increasing U.S. security.

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