As the United States continues to emerge from a historic recession, energy has emerged as both a bright spot and a source of ongoing challenges for the nation’s long-term prosperity and security. On the one hand, when adjusted for economic growth and inflation, the United States has cut its energy needs by more than 50 percent since 1973. And there have been major developments on the supply side: domestic oil, natural gas, and renewable energy production are up, while energy imports are down; new energy development is driving a jobs boom in many parts of the country; and lower energy costs are helping the U.S. manufacturing sector recover.
Yet major challenges remain, including maintaining a clean, reliable, and secure electric power system; improving the environmental performance of natural gas production; devising cost-effective strategies to address climate change; nurturing energy innovation; and navigating the geopolitics of America’s recent shale gas and tight oil boom. These challenges will demand bipartisan solutions.
The New Geopolitics of Petroleum and Gas
BPC’s Senior Fellow and former Sen. Pete Domenici is hosting four public events to explore the changes in global oil and gas markets and their impacts on energy sectors, energy diplomacy, and economic growth. Keynote speakers have included Sens. Ron Wyden and Lisa Murkowski; Melanie Kenderdine, energy counselor to the secretary of energy; and Daniel Yergin, vice chairman at IHS.
Electric Grid Cyber Security Initiative
A joint effort of BPC’s Energy and Homeland Security Projects, the initiative will focus on how government agencies and private companies can protect the electric grid from cyber attacks. The effort will be led by Gen. Michael Hayden (Ret.), Curt Hébert, and Sue Tierney.
Greenhouse Gas Regulation
President Obama directed EPA to issue final regulations for existing power plants by June 2015. BPC, along with NARUC, is convening a series of public stakeholder workshops in the coming months to facilitate constructive dialogue on this complex topic.
BPC continues to advance a national energy-technology innovation agenda with policymakers, the broader stakeholder community, and media with original analysis and policy advocacy though the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC). In particular, AEIC is emphasizing the challenges of increasing energy R&D in an era of slow economic growth and static or declining federal budgets.
Strategic Energy Policy Initiative
America’s Energy Resurgence: Sustaining Success, Confronting Challenges addressed the recent shifts in the U.S. energy landscape and provided policy recommendations to support a diverse, efficient, and innovative energy future. This effort was led by former Sen. Byron Dorgan, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Gen. James L. Jones USMC (Ret.) and former EPA Administrator William K. Reilly.
Capitalizing on the Evolving Power Sector: Policies for a Modern and Reliable U.S. Electric Grid offered policy recommendations aimed at improving electric system reliability and facilitating the transition to cleaner electricity and new energy technologies. The effort was led by former Rep. Rick Boucher, former FERC Chairman Curt Hébert, and NRDC’s Allison Clements.
New Dynamics of the U.S. Natural Gas Markets focused on the dynamics of new gas supplies, assessed their impacts on the energy system as a whole, and explored opportunities to expand natural gas use in ways that improve the economic and environmental performance of the nation’s energy system.
Nuclear Energy Initiative
The Nuclear Energy Initiative, led by BPC Senior Fellow and former Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete V. Domenici and Dr. Warren “Pete” Miller, former Department of Energy assistant secretary for nuclear energy, hosted a series of public events on Challenges and Opportunities for Nuclear Power in the United States. The event series addressed the spectrum of challenges facing nuclear power in the United States in order to preserve the safe use of nuclear energy as a reliable source of low-carbon electricity.
In 2010, BPC launched a Task Force on Geoengineering. This effort was aimed at exploring the emerging policy and political issues raised by research activities designed to intentionally alter the earth’s natural environment to counteract the effects of climate change. The study of these techniques has moved from the fringes of scientific speculation to the center of an increasingly intense evaluation by scientists and policymakers.