As President Obama gives tonight the State of the Union Address, the state of our energy union is stronger than anytime in 40 years. America's domestic energy resources are bountiful, diverse, cleaner, and affordable.
Just consider these 10 energy facts:
1. US energy related carbon emissions fell from over 6 billion tons annually in 2007 to less than 5.3 billion tons in 2012, and toxic air emissions from energy production are plummeting as a result of more natural gas, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and pollution controls on coal plants.
2. Oil imports in December 2012 fell to 1997 levels.
3. Oil consumption currently is at 2000 or lower levels, though our GDP is much bigger than in 2000.
4. Domestic gas production set record levels in 2011 and 2012, and America became the largest producer of natural gas in the world.
5. Domestic oil production surged toward 7 million barrels per day, reaching the highest levels in nearly 20 years.
6. Total US Energy consumption declined 6.4% from 2007 to 2012, even though GDP and population in 2012 was bigger than in 2007.
7. Wind generation capacity skyrocketed from 25,000 megawatts in 2008 to 60,000 megawatts in 2012, with a record 13,000 megawatts installed just in 2012.
8. Solar generation capacity increased 14 times, rising from 500 megawatts in 2008 to 7,000 megawatts in 2012, with a record 3,000 megawatts installed in 2012.
9. Solar costs plummeted by up to 80% from 2006 to 2012, and wind also cut costs significantly, making both solar and wind increasingly cost competitive.
10. Natural gas, coal, and electricity prices all either fell or were essentially stable. Oil prices measured from June, 2008 to today also declined, though gasoline costs in 2012 set a record high for a whole year.
Biodiesel, ethanol, and nuclear reached in the last 3 year record production levels. Electric vehicles, hybrids, and natural gas vehicles are taking to the road in growing numbers and offer a means of curtailing oil imports and consumption further.
Despite improving oil substitutes, increasing domestic oil production, and falling oil consumption, the high price of oil and oil's status as still America's top energy source remain energy threats to our economic and national security. Though oil imports are falling, America still imports about 40% of the oil consumed here, and our economy shudders whenever gasoline prices near $4 per gallon.
While challenges remain, America's energy independence grows and the clean energy revolution of energy efficiency and renewable energy gallops forward. The state of our energy union is, indeed, stronger than anytime in 40 years.