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THE QUESTION

What does it mean to be energy independent?

On Wednesday, President Obama will announce a new energy strategy that includes offshore drilling.

What does it mean for a nation to be energy independent? Is it realistic and if so how should that be achieved?

Posted by Washington Post Editor on March 31, 2010 6:00 AM
FROM THE PANEL

Declaring indpendence from energy independence mindset

Energy Independence is a mixed bag -- both good and bad energy policy ideas are promoted under its banner. The bad outweighs the good, and in any event energy independence shouldn't supplant free markets as the overarching principle for sound energy policy.

Posted by Ben Lieberman, on April 2, 2010 10:51 AM

Get off oil

Of course, total energy independence cannot be fully achieved, but there are many good reasons (security of energy supplies and costs to the economy among them) to reduce the U.S. dependence on imported oil.

Posted by Donald F. Boesch, on April 1, 2010 3:34 PM

Electricity can decrease risk exposure

The concept of energy independence is usually oversimplified in most political and media discussions. Given the globalization of the economy and the global trade in several key energy sources, a country would have to be exceptionally isolated from its neighbors to have a truly insulated energy system.

Posted by Lars G. Josefsson, on April 1, 2010 3:41 AM

Solid policy objectives can be achieved

"Energy independence" is something of a sloppy term, but it seeks to capture several interrelated policy objectives, and as a result is an important goal to pursue.

Posted by Bernard Finel, on March 31, 2010 2:52 PM

Efficiency matters

Simply defining energy independence as an ability to meet all domestic demand from domestic supply is almost certain to lead to high cost outcomes that will fall short of their objective.

Posted by David Hone, on March 31, 2010 6:44 AM

Just another political scam

If truth in advertising requirements applied to political slogans and proposals, energy independence would never have survived its first utterance from President Nixon.

Posted by William O'Keefe, on March 31, 2010 6:40 AM

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