Index of U.S. Energy Security Risk®: Assessing America's Vulnerabilities in a Global Energy Market

Wednesday, October 28, 2020 - 12:00pm

The 2020 edition of the Global Energy Institute’s (GEI) Index of U.S. Energy Security Risk incorporates the most recent historical and forecast data to assess the current and future state of U.S. energy security risk. The Index is made up of 37 different measures of energy security risk in nine categories: global fuels; fuel imports; energy expenditures; price and market volatility; energy use intensity; electric power sector; transportation sector; environmental; and basic science and energy research & development. The Index covers the historical period from 1970 to 2019 and a forecast period out to 2040.

GEI’s Index includes four Sub-Indexes that identify the major areas of risk to U.S. energy security: geopolitical, economic, reliability, and environmental. Each of the 37 metrics is mapped to one or more of these four Sub-Indexes. These Sub-Indexes are weighted (30% each for Geopolitical and Economic, 20% each for Reliability and Environmental) and combined to produce a total Index score.

This year’s edition reflects revisions to the historical data and the new forecast in the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2020.

The Index is designed to convey the notion of risk: a lower Index score indicates a lower risk to energy security and a higher score indicates a higher risk. When evaluating the results, it is important to recognize that the Index necessarily moves along an open-ended scale. To provide a relative sense of potential hazard, the Index score for 1980, a particularly bad year for U.S. (and global) energy security risks, was set at 100. Index scores approaching or surpassing 100, therefore, suggest a very high degree of risk.

The average Index score for the 30-year period from 1970 to 1999 is 84.9. This includes years with relatively very high (100 in 1980) and very low (74.9 in 1992) scores. When reviewing this year’s results, the 1980 baseline score and the 30-year averages, along with the historical high and low scores also provided, can be used as reference points against which to consider current and future risk scores. Unless otherwise noted, all dollar figures are in real 2019 dollars. “Historic” or “record” high or low risk scores refer to scores since 1970, the beginning year of the GEI Index database.

This report focuses exclusively on the United States and how its energy security risks have shifted over time and where they might be headed in the future. GEI also publishes an International Index of Energy Security Risk that analyzes risks to the U.S. in an international context by comparing it with 24 other large energy-producing countries. Readers interested in how U.S. risks compare with those faced by other countries should consult the International Index.