Is America’s energy security getting better or worse? What are the historical and future factors that affect our energy security risk the most? How can we quantify the impacts of new policies on our energy future?
Since our inception in 2007, Energy Institute officials—and many others—have been asking those questions. But there has never been a concrete answer nor tool to measure our risk —until now.
On May 25, the Energy Institute unveiled the first-of-its-kind Index of U.S. Energy Security Risk. More than a month after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Index serves as a timely reminder of how complex America’s energy infrastructure is as well as how past energy policies (or lack thereof) have left the U.S. energy system vulnerable.
The Index tracks energy security risk beginning in 1970 and projects future risk until 2030. Each year in the Index is assigned a composite score, which will be updated annually as new data becomes available. The 37 individual components used to calculate the Index are based in four primary areas—geopolitical, economic, reliability and environmental.
In conjunction with the Index, the Energy Institute also launched a new Energy Security website. Available at http://www.energyxxi.org/energysecurity, the site houses the entire Index, including data tables detailing all 37 metrics, as well a new interactive web tool that allows users to explore America’s energy security past and future for themselves.
The highest energy security risk recorded in the Index was in 1980, which the index assigned a rating of 100.0 as a baseline. Energy security risk rose throughout the 1970s, before falling in the 1990s. Higher energy prices and increased demand led to an increased risk in the last decade. The 2009 risk index score is 83.7—lower than 2008 due to the global recession.
Looking forward, America’s energy security risks are projected to increase to 1980 levels unless action is taken. This is due to increasing geopolitical volatility, growing global energy demand, foreign import dependency, aging and overburdened infrastructure, and uncertainty related to environmental regulations.
The Index was unveiled at Chamber headquarters and included an expert panel of key contributors to the Index, including Guy Caruso, former Administrator of the Energy Information Administration; Bill O’Keefe, President of the Marshall Institute; and Michelle Foss, Ph.D., of the University of Texas, all of whom were among the peer reviewers consulted by the Energy Institute.
The Index was spearheaded by Steve Eule, the Energy Institute’s vice president of climate and technology who will now be hitting the road to demonstrate it to academic institutions, policymakers, and think tanks across the country in an effort to focus attention the realities of America’s energy security risk.
The mission of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful energy action at the the local, state, national, and international levels.