On Wednesday, President Trump visited Double Eagle Energy in Midland, Texas to speak about the important role that energy plays in our economy and the need for America to be energy independent, or to have a safe, reliable, affordable supply of energy produced within our borders.
Certainly the United States has made tremendous progress on that front.
According to a White House release: “American energy exports reached an all-time high last year, marking the first time in 67 years that our annual gross energy exports exceeded our gross energy imports.” This was largely a result of domestic crude oil production levels reaching record highs during the last two years.
The increase in energy supply led to lower costs for all American consumers. As the White House release put it, increased energy supply saved Americans : “over $200 billion annually through lower energy prices. This is disproportionately benefiting poor households who typically spend a greater percentage of their income on gasoline, natural gas, and electricity bills.” These low energy prices are more important than ever now, as many Americans have lost their jobs or portions of their income due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus lockdowns. We need to focus on continuing to find new innovative ways to provide reliable, affordable energy to Americans.
But that doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice the environment: Even as our energy production has soared, as the White House notes, American “air quality has improved by 77 percent over the last 50 years.”
And the clean energy sector has a role to play in providing affordable energy to help our economy get back on its feet too. Unfortunately, the President didn’t mention it during his address but, before the pandemic, a report found that there were 3.3 million Americans working in clean energy. In 2018, clean energy employment grew 3.6% and accounted for 4.2% of all jobs added nationally that year. The same report found that renewable energy is already the fastest growing source of new U.S. electricity generation. In addition, renewable energy investment is predicted to surpass oil and gas for the first time ever in 2021. It’s on track to claim 25% of total energy capital expenditure worldwide.
Of course, the entire energy industry has been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic. But with the right support and by removing unnecessary government red tape, it can help accelerate our economic recovery and get Americans back to work.