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Key Findings – Energy

Technology and Innovation Drive Vast Shifts in Energy Landscape

dreamstime_xs_24297161The Wall Street Journal recently marked the vast changes to the global energy landscape over the last 20 years in an extensive report entitled, The Future of Energy. From the technology breakthroughs that brought about the U.S. oil renaissance via hydraulic fracturing and a renewal in deepwater drilling, to innovative business models such as solar leases that now make this energy source accessible to a whole new group of home owners, the report chronicles the breadth and depth of energy’s past, present and possible future.

“The last time we had a presidential election, the U.S. was going to run out of oil,” says Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS, in the WSJ report. “Since then, U.S. oil production has grown 25%… technology has opened doors people didn’t know were there…Over one million jobs have been created by the development of unconventional gas. The U.S. went from importing 60% of our crude in 2005 to 42% today. We’ve seen a big turnaround.”

Another topic addressed by the WSJ’s expert energy panel convened for the report was energy conservation, or the lack of it in the U.S.

According to Bill Ritter, director of the Center for the New Energy Economy, every person can make a difference in curbing energy waste. He cited the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project study that found the building of 32 large power plants can be avoided and $544 million in public health benefit generated in the Southwest by 2030 by implementing best-practice energy-efficiency programs.

“Per capita energy consumption in the U.S. is among the highest of all large economies in the world,” says Jeffrey Ball, scholar-in-residence at Standford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance. “Americans could do a lot to curb their energy consumption without making life any less fun…we don’t need to wait for government to act…we make choices everyday about how to use energy. We can exercise our power to think.”



  • For every one cent increase in a gallon of jet fuel, U.S. airlines’ costs go up by $175 million. (
  • For the 12 months until October 2013, the electricity produced from wind power in the U.S. amounted to 163.849 terawatt-hours, or 4.06% of all generated electrical energy. (
  • A U.S. Government Accountability Office report counted 82 different programs spread across nine agencies that provided tax breaks, loan guarantees, or other economic assistance to the wind industry. (
  • When Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard program in 2005 and expanded it in 2007, the idea was to reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions by mixing biofuels with gasoline and diesel. Since 2005, U.S. ethanol production has more than tripled. Over that period, that has cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks by 210 million metric tons and reduced U.S. gasoline imports by about 600,000 barrels per day, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. (
  • The industries with the highest positive ratings among 18-29-year-olds were: the computer industry (69%); the restaurant industry (64%); the farming and agriculture industry (62%); and the internet industry (57%). Among the lowest scorers were the oil and gas industry (25%), the federal government (31%), and the real estate industry (32%). (




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