It is not important for the U.S. to actually be “energy independent.” It’s important that the U.S. (and our allies) not be “dependent” on any particular source of energy from an unstable region of the world. For example, if we import oil from Canada, not a problem.
We are within reach of NET energy independence, by which I mean our exports of coal and natural gas equal our imports of oil.
Over time, we can become a big net exporter of energy, in various forms, given our tremendous discoveries of new reserves, advances in the extraction of energy from sources currently in production, and continuing advances in energy efficiency. Renewables remain a very small part of the picture; but, who knows, tapping into solar, wind or geothermal offers tremendous potential (personally, I think geothermal has the most potential).
Plus there is the need for more energy infrastructure (pipelines, refineries, transmission wires).
Production and distribution of energy can be the engine of a revival of our stalled economy. The catalyst for a revival, across the boards, of all of our industries. It can pull our home out from under-water, strengthen our retirement portfolios, close the budget deficit. It is a really important part of all the economic objectives of the next administration.
His 2020 plan is for North America to be energy independent, not the US. Some of the early reporting is confusing the two. His plan is linked above (and still short on details).
Absolutely. If we have to import energy, it should be from sources friendly to our interests. But I think the goal of "energy independence" (which I understand as producing all our energy domestically) is still worth pursuing.