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Redefining Energy Security


Published: January 23, 2019

Although the United States has achieved energy independence, it should focus on creating energy security. While energy independence is inward facing, energy security is about having reliable access even during natural disasters or geopolitical price shocks. Being in a position of energy security means having the ability to set standards that will help make the world a better, safer, and more environmentally-friendly place.

Discussion Questions

  1. How is the state of energy generation in the United States different today than it has been in the last few decades?
  2. What is the difference between energy security and energy independence?
  3. How many countries in the world are energy independent?

Additional Resources

  • Read James O. Ellis Jr.’s chapter “Redefining Energy Security” in Blueprint for America available here.
  • You can find the rest of “Blueprint for America” here.
  • Read the “The Benefits Of Nuclear Power” by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr. , George P. Shultz, available here.
  • Admiral James O. Ellis discusses nuclear energy at Stanford University in “Reinventing Nuclear Energy.” Available here.
View Transcript

For the first time in decades, America has achieved energy independence, isn’t responding to an energy crisis, and is in a position of energy strength.

However, simple energy independence isn’t enough. America should strive for energy security and create a robust system for generating and distributing energy.

Energy security means energy is reliable and always available, even in times of duress.

It recovers quickly even if interrupted and is affordable, regardless of price shocks.

Energy independence checks some of these boxes; energy security checks them all.

Energy independence looks inward; it means that if we closed off our borders, we would still have ample energy resources to supply U.S. factories and homes. But what about our military abroad? Our international allies? Our trading partners? Energy independence does nothing to

maximize or leverage our energy strength on a global scale. Energy security is both inward and outward facing.

It gives us another crucial international tool by enabling the U.S. to neutralize geopolitical threats by shifting our energy resources abroad to our allies without having to use military force.

Moreover, by leading the world in energy development, the U.S. can establish its strong safety and environmental standards as the global norm.

But as history suggests, this window of opportunity could be fleeting. After lurching from energy crisis to energy crisis, the U.S. has a rare window of opportunity to develop a longterm energy security strategy that would make America and the world a better, safer, and more environmentally-friendly place.