National and economic security is deeply linked to our energy supply. About half of U.S. petroleum is imported from other nations — 45 percent of the nation's supply, which amounted to over 11.4 million barrels of oil imported per day in 2011, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The U.S. transportation sector is 97 percent dependent upon oil and it uses approximately 28.1 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States. About $337 billion flowed from the United States in 2010 to pay for oil imports and the volatility of the global oil market has resulted in uncertainty throughout the economy. In addition, a number of countries that supply petroleum have had historically strained relationships with the United States, creating fears about supply interruption due to political conflict.
Energy security also refers to the capacity and reliability of our fuel refineries, power plants, and electric grid. Large, centralized sources of fuel and power are more vulnerable to disruptions from extreme weather events, natural disasters, and potential acts of terrorism. Distributed generation can provide for a more secure energy supply and a more resilient power grid. Transmission lines also need to be maintained and upgraded to handle the rising demand for electricity and new sources of power.
For these reasons, the United States can adopt energy efficient practices and technologies to reduce overall energy demand and seek diverse, distributed, and domestic sources of renewable energy. Fortunately, every region of the country has renewable resources that can be tapped to ensure a more secure energy supply. These resources include wind, solar, geothermal, water, and biomass from a wide variety of agricultural, forest, and urban sources.
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