The cities of the southern United States—with major Texas cities Austin, Houston and San Antonio featured in the foreground—have all experienced a major economic boost from the American shale boom. Houston, the city at the heart of the American shale revolution, will handily outpace other major cities in terms of growth as long as large quantities of affordable energy, especially natural gas, flow through the city. The proximity of shale production areas to population centers means transport logistics and security concerns, like those with imported oil, are drastically reduced when compared to more traditional energy-production zones that tend to be in remote, volatile regions.
The sheer volumes of shale gas production in particular will continue to drive utility prices down since cheaper, more abundant gas results in cheaper power. Electricity from natural gas is also produced more cleanly than by other fossil fuels, such as coal. Lower power costs will have additional positive impacts on household and business (especially manufacturing) budgets, opening the door to new economic opportunities for the region.
For more on the role of shale energy in remaking the American system, see Chapter 7 in The Accidental Superpower as well as the upcoming release of Shale New World.