President Obama recently delivered the first State of the Union Address of his second term. While the President scratched the surface of a needed conversation on the nation’s energy policies, much remains to be discussed. After all, our nation’s energy policy is the lifeblood of our economy and as such has a large impact on our nation’s consumers and businesses.

The good news is that the state of the U.S. consumer is resting on a strong foundation. Thanks to new technologies (namely horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing), U.S. oil production is at its highest level in 20 years, the U.S. is now the world’s largest natural gas producer, and wind generation capacity reached a record 13,000 megawatts installed in 2012. As Consumer Energy Alliance predicted last year these developments could enable the United States to become energy self-sufficient within the decade.

Taken together, this has improved U.S. energy security and provided a foundation for our economic recovery. Thanks to the abundance of natural gas wholesale electricity prices have dropped by 50 percent since 2008. This is leveling the playing field and bringing manufacturing back to areas of the U.S. – like the Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Developments like these led Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey to declare “This is one of the five best story lines of the 21st century for America.”