Renewable Energy and its Potential to Increase Domestic Energy Security

by Carolyn Mullen

According to the EIA, the United States generated about four trillion kilowatthours of electricity in 2015, of which 7% was generated from renewable sources. [1] Even though most individuals know the environmental benefits of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower, the advantages these sources have for energy security are less known and discussed. The United States could greatly improve its energy security if more renewable energy sources are used in electricity generation.

Energy security is defined by the International Energy Agency as the “uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price.”[2] Energy security is important for many reasons, from ensuring that the energy system can react accordingly to sudden changes with demand, securing energy prices from significant spikes, and the potential loss of energy transmission. Increasing domestic energy security is important, and to do this the energy profile of the United States needs to be more diverse. The best way to diversify the energy profile of the United States is to increase the usage of renewable energy generation technologies such as solar photovoltaics, wind turbines, geothermal energy generation, and hydropower.

Renewable energy sources could help improve the United States energy security. Renewable energy sources have the availability to reduce potential risks to the energy supply of the United States. System failures, acts of terrorism against energy resources, generation, and transportation, and energy market instabilities are all risks that can be reduced by incorporating more renewable energy sources into the energy profile of the United States. Since all renewable energy generated and consumed in the United States would be domestic, the United States dependence for fossil fuels from other countries could significantly decrease. Not relying on fossil fuels from other countries can strengthen our domestic energy security, increasing national security, and could reduce the risks of significant price increases from the world energy market.

Renewable energy technology is becoming more affordable and cost competitive with traditional fossil fuel energy sources. Even though they are  nondispatchable, with further research and development of energy storage, renewable energy that is generated in excess can be stored and used later to meet energy demands, instead of using traditional energy sources like coal and natural gas.

As the United States continues to grow and enhance its own energy market, renewable energy sources should be highly considered for plans regarding energy security.


[1] “U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis,” What Is U.S. Electricity Generation by Energy Source? – FAQ – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), , accessed December 08, 2016,

[2] “Energy Security,” What Is Energy Security?, , accessed December 08, 2016,

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