US Self Sufficent

How Much Land It Would Take to Make the U.S. Entirely Energy-Independent

Making the United States energy-independent is quite possible; it all depends on how Americans go about doing it. To start, there’s the question of renewable energy versus clean energy. An energy source might be renewable, but not clean. Take, for example, the idea of clean coal. The first and most important thing you need to know is that there is no such thing as clean coal. Clean coal is like a healthy cigarette; there is no such thing. However, using coal as an energy source in the United States is considered renewable. One county in Utah, for example, is in the beginning phases of proposing oil shale extraction. The Green River Formation, located in Utah, is the location of a gigantic geological formation of oil shale. If the oil shale was mined and processed, it would produce the equivalent of 1.2 trillion barrels of oil, which is three times the amount of Saudia Arabia’s oil reserves and 35 times the amount of current American oil reserves. It could, hypothetically, power the entire country for more than a century. To some, this is considered renewable. Clearly it is not smart, considering the environmental impact of using oil shale as a fuel source.

If, however, Americans chose an energy source that was both clean and renewable, like solar or wind energy, it would still be possible for the United States to be energy-independent. For example, for the United States to run entirely on solar energy, about 60,000 square miles of solar panels would be required. If every roof in the United States was covered in solar panels, that would provide more energy than Americans currently use. Another idea for solar panel placement is to put solar panels on the sides of many highways. Considering the fact that, in the United States, there are more than 4 million miles of highway, which is definitely a feasible idea to consider.

Another option to power the United States is to use wind energy. Opponents of wind energy claim that 60,000 acres would be needed to produce the same amount of energy with wind as just one coal power plant. In fact, in mid-2008, the United States passed Germany and became the number one wind energy producer in the world. While wind energy currently only supplies a little more than 1% of the national energy, it is gaining momentum. It would take a substantial amount of physical space to entirely power the United States on wind, but it is space that exists and it is feasible.

In the end, it seems most feasible to use a combination of clean, renewable energy sources and to focus on regional needs. In order to become energy-independent, EnviroCitizen.org knows that Americans need to start thinking local and utilize local, clean, renewable energy sources.