Overview of US Energy Security Issues

Energy security is a complex issue and, in the case of the United States, is ensured when the nation can deliver energy economically, reliably, in an environmentally sound way, and safely in quantities sufficient to support the growing economy and defense needs [3]. This will require policies that support expansion of the energy supply and delivery infrastructure (with sufficient storage and generating reserves), diversity of fuels, and redundancy of infrastructure to meet the demands of economic growth. The United States will need increased contributions toward energy security from all available sources over the long term, including conservation, traditional sources of energy, renewable resources, and new energy sources, such as hydrogen. In order to enhance energy security, the United States must [3]:

• Encourage conservation and energy efficiency;

• Maintain diverse energy supplies while enhancing domestic production and delivery;

• Maximize economic efficiency;

• Accelerate research and development to create and deploy advanced energy technologies;

• Develop and implement effective contingency and emergency plans;

• Develop policies based on sound science and realistic economic, national security, and environmental needs in order to make decisions that are timely, consistent, and coordinated with energy security, economic, and environmental objectives.

U.S. energy security is closely linked to global energy markets and trends, North American energy resources, and energy production, transportation, and storage systems, as well as changing patterns of consumption [3]. One energy source of particular concern is petroleum; in 2002, more than 60% of the oil consumed in the United States was imported [1]. World oil demand is projected to increase by nearly 44 million barrels per day by 2020; ~60% of the increased demand will be in developing countries, and 60% of the total demand will be in the transportation sector. Approximately 63% of the oil will be supplied by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and 44% will come from the Persian Gulf region [3,4]. These trends have enormous implications for U.S. energy security, as global competition and potential disruptions to the United States will impact availability and cost to consumers.

Energy patterns in the United States are projected to shift dramatically by 2020 and also have energy security implications [3,5]. Total U.S. energy consumption is projected to increase from 97 quadrillion Btu in 2001 to ~127 quadrillion Btu in 2020. Petroleum is expected to remain the dominant fuel in U.S. markets, maintaining about a 40% market share, with domestic production remaining constant and the United States relying heavily on imported oil. The transportation sector, in which 96% of the energy is supplied by oil, is expected to grow more rapidly than any other sector, increasing from about 13 million barrels per day (bbl/day) in 2001

to ~19 million bbl/day in 2020. Natural gas consumption is projected to increase from 23 trillion cubic feet in 2001 to 34 trillion cubic feet in 2020, primarily as a result of rapid growth in demand for electricity generation. Domestic natural gas production and imports from Canada are projected to increase from 19 and 3.5 trillion cubic feet, respectively, in 2001 to 28.5 and 5.5 trillion cubic feet, respectively, in 2020. The market share of renewable energy is projected to remain constant, increasing from 5 quadrillion Btu in 2001 to 8.9 quadrillion Btu in 2020. Coal consumption is projected to increase from ~1 billion short tons in 2002 to ~1.4 billion short tons in 2020, with about 90% of the total coal demand being used for electricity generation. Total U.S. electricity demand is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 1.8% through 2020.

The energy security implications of imported oil and the use of natural gas in the power generation industry are discussed later in this chapter. The availability and price of natural gas, especially if it is used in large quantities in the power industry, and the use of natural gas as a feedstock in the chemical/fertilizer industry, for residential heating, and in the transportation sector are discussed here, as is the application of reforming natural gas to produce hydrogen.

The U.S. energy infrastructure is the keystone of the American way of life. It is the foundation for all other critical infrastructures, including information and telecommunications, postal service and shipping, public health, and agriculture [6]. Ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the energy infrastructure is vital to homeland security and economic prosperity.

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