The U.S. is on track to become the world's largest oil producer by 2020, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. Increased oil production in the country coupled with fuel efficiency will lead to reduced need for imports and in fact, put us on the path to becoming a net exporter of oil around 2030.
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And energy independence for the U.S. may not be that far away either, according to the World Energy Outlook 2012.
“North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world, yet the potential also exists for a similarly transformative shift in global energy efficiency,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.
Increased domestic gas and oil production – primarily a result of the growth in hydraulic fracturing or fracking, increased energy efficiency standards and development of alternative sources such as solar and wind will all play a role in the future of U.S. energy. The IEA predicts that the U.S. could be effectively energy independent by 2035 – without drastic changes to existing policies.
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"This year’s World Energy Outlook shows that by 2035, we can achieve energy savings equivalent to nearly a fifth of global demand in 2010," van der Hoeven says. "In other words, energy efficiency is just as important as unconstrained energy supply, and increased action on efficiency can serve as a unifying energy policy that brings multiple benefits.”
Global markets will continue to have significant impact on prices and availability, but the trend toward self-sufficiency provides more security for U.S. energy sources in the coming years. And increasing focus on energy efficiency will raise security even further, according to the report.
In addition, renewables, including biofuels, are expected to become the world's second-largest source for power generation by 2015. By 2035, renewables are expected to account for almost one-third of total electricity output, with solar leading the way.