Letter to the Editor: Real energy independence

Published 7:38 am Sunday, April 24, 2022

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To the Editor:

I wanted to express concerns about the editorial written by Rep. Charlie Miller, published on Wednesday, April 15th.  It is essential that the lawmakers understand the facts – our future rests in their hands.

Rep. Charlie Miller misstated that the US relies on foreign energy (“President Biden’s dependence on foreign oil”).  In fact, the United States has been largely self-sufficient since 2014 and a net energy exporter since 2017. The export figure includes oil, coal and natural gas. In 2020, the US imported less than 6 million barrels/day of crude oil – the lowest number since 1995 – and the figure includes petrochemical products refined for export. The US is not dependent on foreign oil, just dependent on oil.

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Rep. Charlie Miller also downplays the role of the “free-market,” blaming the “reliance on foreign energy” for the rise in gas prices. The vice-chair of the House Committee on Energy should know that prices depend on fluctuations in supply and demand. The Russian War reduced supply and Europeans had to look elsewhere to satisfy their demand, putting pressure on global markets. Oil companies, including US exporters, naturally expect to profit from the price increase. Hence, consumers pay more at the pumps and for electricity bills. Since the 1970s, free-market economies have experienced the “ripple effects” of periodic oil shortages.

Domestic energy “reliability and resiliency” means reducing dependence on fossil fuels. North Carolina must invest in renewable sources like solar, wind, wave, tidal, and all the new options on the horizon.  While it is fair to applaud Duke Energy’s upgrades to the electric grid, at this point, renewable energy constitutes less than 12% of the mix. This is the opportunity that is knocking, dare I say pounding, on the door.

True story. At a conference for global oil executives, a Saudi prince speaking for Aramco stated: “god has blessed my country with vast oil reserves, but god has also blessed us with sun. The sun is free.” It is worth noting that Saudi Arabia has the second largest reserves in the world, enough to last two centuries. As of March 20, 2021, that country is on track to achieve its goal of generating 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Many will say some nations can afford the transition to clean energy. The question is, can the US afford not to?

Madeleine Dale

Kill Devil Hills