According to the 11th annual Energy Industry Outlook Survey conducted by the KPMG Global Energy Institute, 62 percent of energy executives believe the U.S. can attain energy independence by 2030, eliminating dependency on foreign oil. The survey polled more than 100 senior energy executives in the U.S. and found that this is a 10 percent increase from last year’s survey. Of this number, 23 percent believe the country can attain energy independence as soon as 2020.
“Increased domestic production, particularly from shale assets, is having a profound impact on the global energy sector, introducing new sources to the energy matrix,” said John Kunasek, national sector leader for energy and natural resources for KPMG LLP.
He continued, “This ‘shale gale’ is certainly contributing to the increased optimism among energy executives on the potential for U.S. energy independence and driving large investments into the development and production from these shale assets, including ‘Greenfield’ investment plays.”
The survey shows that natural gas is predicted to play an important role and 79 percent of those surveyed agree that the energy industry’s emphasis in developing environmentally friendly technologies should focus on natural gas, followed by nuclear (39 percent), solar (33 percent), and clean coal technologies (32 percent), indicating a slight shift away from the total bullishness around natural gas seen in the 2012 survey results, to a more balanced view with solar and wind technologies making gains.
Ninety-five percent of energy executives expect continued R&D investment in alternative energy projects this year while 55 percent anticipate investments will remain unchanged in 2013. However, the percentage of respondents predicting a 10 percent increase in R&D investment nearly tripled, from 11 percent in 2012 to 30 percent in 2013.
When asked which alternative energy sources companies will target most for investment over the next three years, executives most frequently cited shale gas and oil (54 percent), followed by solar energy (29 percent), wind energy (25 percent), biofuels (19 percent) and clean coal technologies (17 percent). Yet executives cited a number of significant challenges to increasing renewable generation on their systems, including the cost of competitive non-renewable energy (50 percent), the cost of a new system (39 percent), and the complexity of renewable project financing and transmission (28 percent).
Kunasek added, “What is exciting about these findings it that it demonstrates the industry’s intent to explore all options, despite barriers regarding cost and complexities, to provide a diverse energy matrix to meet the world’s future energy needs.”