The Geopolitical Implications of a Clean Energy Future from the Perspective of the United States

Chapter
Part of the Lecture Notes in Energy book series (LNEN, volume 61)

Abstract

A future in which clean energy substantially displaces fossil fuels could affect the economic and national security interests of the United States in at least five major ways. First, the United States may reduce its presence in the Middle East as fossil fuels wane in importance. Second, the United States is on track to cede market share in nuclear power to countries like Russia and China that are smarter and more aggressively investing in nuclear innovation, leading to economic opportunity costs and increased threats from nuclear proliferation. Third, the United States will likely invest in a smarter and more interconnected power grid to cope with intermittent renewable electricity supply; that could enhance relations with Mexico and Canada but also increase the threat of cyberattacks on the grid. Fourth, the rise of clean energy might tempt countries around the world to boost domestic manufacturing, by flouting the norms of the international trade regime that has brought prosperity to the United States. And fifth, in the face of the various negative potential implications of a clean energy future, the United States will have an opportunity to advance national and global interests by leading efforts to strengthen international institutions, confront climate change, and invest in clean energy innovation.

Keywords

Geopolitics Clean energy United States National security National interests Solar Wind Oil Middle east Military Energy Nuclear Nuclear energy Russia Nuclear proliferation Nonproliferation Nuclear innovation Grid expansion Grid interconnection Smart grid Cybersecurity International trade Energy trade Climate change Energy innovation Research and development International cooperation Clean energy innovation 

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Council on Foreign RelationsNew YorkUSA

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