Coal, Gas, Renewables

Report: Outlook for U.S. energy independence positive

KPMG Global Energy Institute energy independence positive outlook renewables natural gas solar biomass wind oil coal

A survey conducted by the KPMG Global Energy Institute shows that a majority of energy executives believe the U.S. can reach energy independence by 2030. The survey also showed a decrease in the number of executives who believe the U.S. will never gain energy independence.

The 11th annual Energy Industry Outlook Survey, which polled more than 100 senior executives in the U.S. representing global companies, showed that 62 percent of the respondents believe the U.S. can attain energy independence by 2030, and 23 percent of those respondents believe that U.S. energy independence can be achieved as early as 2020. That number is up from last year, when 52 percent of respondents believed U.S. energy independence was possible by 2030.

The number of executives polled who believe the U.S. can never reach energy dependence dropped to 17 percent from 27 percent in 2012 as well, according to the survey.

KPMG national sector leader for energy and natural resources said much of the change in opinion is being caused by increased domestic production, particularly from shale assets.

The majority of respondents also believed the energy industry’s emphasis in developing environmentally friendly technologies should focus on natural gas, with 79 percent supporting that view. Natural gas was followed by nuclear with 39 percent, solar with 33 percent and clean coal technologies with 32 percent. According to a statement from KPMG, those results show a slight shift away from the “total bullishness around natural gas” in the 2012 survey results.

In addition, 95 percent of energy executives indicated they expect continued research and development investment in alternative energy projects, with 55 percent believing investments will remain the same in 2013. The number of respondents predicting a 10 percent increase in R&D development nearly tripled to 30 percent in 2013 from 11 percent in 2012, however.

Shale gas and oil is believed to be the most targeted for investment, with 54 percent of respondents indicating that, followed by solar energy at 29 percent, wind energy at 25 percent, biofuels at 19 percent and clean coal technologies at 17 percent.

The respondents also cited a variety of significant challenges to increasing renewable generation on their systems. Of those challenges, 50 percent of respondents indicated the cost of competitive nonrenewable energy, 39 percent indicated the cost of a new system and 28 percent indicated the complexity of renewable project financing and transmission.

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