Recommendations > Recommendation Detail

The Challenge: The U.S. Must Maintain Access to Abundant and Affordable Energy While Reducing Our Reliance on Foreign Imports and Moving Toward Cleaner Energy Sources

  • The U.S. imports more than 300 million barrels of oil a month, at a cost of over $1 billion per day. This dependence not only leaves us vulnerable to global supply shocks, but hurts the economy as we send billions of dollars overseas that might otherwise lift homegrown businesses and domestic growth.
  • The growing global thirst for energy, sparked by three billion additional consumers aspiring to middle class lifestyles, could raise primary energy demand 33% by 2030.
  • The costs to access known oil and gas reserves are soaring, as evidenced by the 100% increase in the average cost to bring an oil well online over the past decade.

Jobs Council Recommendation: Develop a Balanced Portfolio of Innovative, Affordable, and Reliable Energy Solutions for the 21st Century

America’s growth and prosperity require a strategy of energy resilience and diversity. With an “all-in” approach from the public and private sectors, we can meet America’s energy needs in a way that creates jobs, protects public health and the environment, makes businesses more competitive, and fuels American prosperity for the coming generation and beyond.

Optimize All of America’s Energy Resources. The Jobs Council recommends expanding and expediting the domestic production of fossil fuels—including allowing more access to oil, gas, and coal opportunities on federal lands—while ensuring safe and responsible development of those sites. The U.S. government should also make more areas available for renewable energy development and streamline the permitting process for these projects. As a nation, we need to take advantage of all our natural resources in order to spur economic growth, create new jobs, and reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil. Over the long-term, innovation and technological advancements will greatly reduce America’s reliance on fossil fuels.  Until then, however, we need to be “all-in.”

Promote Efficiency to Reduce Overall Energy Dependence. The U.S. should continue to promote energy- and fuel-efficiency measures to stretch our existing domestic resources. The Council is encouraging the industrial sector to adopt energy management best practices that can greatly reduce the energy intensity of their work. The nation’s real estate agents and auditors can also play a big role by incorporating energy audits into the standard practice for buying, selling and valuing a home. The Federal government should incentivize states to adopt more efficient standards for new residential and commercial buildings, and all levels of government should encourage more home energy testing.

The Jobs Council also recommends further steps to reduce U.S. dependence on oil for transportation, including increased government purchases of alternative fuel vehicles and federal research programs to give the U.S. an edge in electric and hybrid vehicle technology. If we pursue this agenda creatively, we’ll not only save on energy costs and reduce emissions, but create thousands of jobs and capture an opportunity to lead in emerging efficiency technologies.

Drive Energy Innovation and Investment. We need a higher level of focus and investment in research, development and deployment (RD&D) in the energy sector today in order to meet America’s future energy demands without increasing harmful emissions. The Council recommends making the R&D tax credit permanent and extending production tax credits in order to encourage private companies to invest in R&D and the deployment of new power generation technologies such as wind, solar, advanced nuclear and coal gasification. Mobilizing private capital to invest in new technologies and enabling those technologies to reach scale will help encourage further innovation, reduce the costs and increase the efficiency of new technologies.

The Jobs Council also recommends increasing funding for energy research programs at the Department of Energy and U.S. universities, and encourages the Administration to find sensible ways to offset these costs, such as charging market-rate royalties for onshore oil, gas and minerals extracted from federal areas. Rapidly evolving technologies have the potential to change the face of energy as we know it in ways that boost jobs, growth, the environment and public health.  Yet we won’t fully realize these opportunities without a major federal effort to encourage innovation and investment from basic invention to industry scale-up.