The situation in Ukraine has highlighted how dangerous our reliance on foreign oil is, begging the issue of how we will manage to power the US.
Time to Face Reality
Whether we employ a mix of oil, fossil fuels, solar, wind, hydropower, or nuclear power, our insatiable desire for energy isn’t going away anytime soon.
This forces us to confront the fact that fossil fuels are here to stay until the marketplace incentivizes large-scale renewable infrastructure building.
The attack on Ukraine by Russia has been catastrophic and heartbreaking. When Putin began massing forces on the Ukrainian border in early March 2021, we saw it coming, but President Biden moved far too slowly.
However, what is happening now requires us to refocus our priority on the weakness in our energy procurement. We rely on oil to fuel our lives, but we import a large amount of it from countries that do not share our values.
When a conflict arises, supply is disrupted, and prices rise. Redistributing sourcing or producing more energy ourselves are two options for dealing with this.
To comprehend the situation, everyone should be aware of where and how much oil we consume.
According to the US Energy Agency, the US generated 18.40 million barrels per day (MMb/d) of oil in 2020. It used 18.12 MMb/d, putting the country on track to become a major exporter for the very first time since 1949.
Canada, Mexico, Russia, as well as Saudi Arabia, accounted for 52 percent, 11 percent, and 7 percent of the best nations from which we bought petroleum.
Returning to Russia, we received approximately 672,000 barrels of oil and processed products each day from the last year.
The restriction on Russian oil imports must be countered by greater domestic production or increased imports from a favorable trading nation.
Perhaps approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil each day from Canada to Nebraska, is part of our strategy for achieving energy sovereignty.
Change is Needed Fast
With a limited supply of fossil fuels and rising global energy needs, a shift to renewable energy is unavoidable.
However, given how the world oil markets have reacted to Russia’s aggressiveness in Ukraine, moving to new energy sources while satisfying our demands is a balancing act.
Fossil fuels contributed for 60.8 percent of energy production in 2021, with renewable energy accounting for 20.1 percent and nuclear energy accounting for 18.9%.
With a large, but finite, number of oil reserves in North America, we must play our cards carefully to ensure a smooth transition.
Restructuring our energy infrastructure to rely mostly on renewable and nuclear energy is a huge task, but it is not insurmountable.
Nuclear energy provides 55 percent of our energy in South Carolina. Our energy prices would drop, our autonomy would be enhanced, and our environmental cost would be drastically reduced if the remainder of the United States achieved this level.
Rather than suffocating private enterprise with regulations, let us support climate-smart behaviors and technology to help us move away from fossil fuels while still meeting our energy demands.