When faced with significant issues, too many elected leaders seek band-aid remedies, rather than address the fundamental cause.
The Biden presidency and others have reacted to today’s high energy costs by blaming Vladimir Putin and slamming numerous short-term remedies at the wall to see what sticks.
Though increasing Canadian oil imports, extending the summer fuel tax break, or permitting higher-ethanol gasoline sales would not solve the fundamental issue; neither would tapping the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve.
The Power Generation
The present global crisis has taught politicians to think long-term, particularly regarding power generation.
"We are frontloading massively our renewable energy in Europe…this will allow us to decouple even further." @EUAmbUS talks to @ChrisJansing about the EU's movements to decrease dependency on Russian oil. pic.twitter.com/EzQIK7pgqs
— Katy Tur Reports (@KatyOnMSNBC) May 5, 2022
That was the main takeaway from an Energy Administration data analysis this month. The EIA analyzed a scenario with no additional natural gas pipeline capacity between 2024 and 2050.
The repercussions for consumers and the environment were disastrous; we lost our ability to offer safe and reliable electricity to friends everywhere.
Without pipelines, energy prices will skyrocket.
American drillers struggle to meet rising global demand, pushing up US natural gas prices. The EIA predicts an 11% increase in the Henry Hub spot price of natural gas without the new interstate pipeline network.
Sadly, the government has done little to encourage the pipeline infrastructure expansion required to support natural gas growth fully.
Large statewide natural gas distribution projects, including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Constitution Pipeline, and Penn East Pipeline, have been halted, due to increased legal and public resistance.
Furthermore, higher gas prices mean increased carbon emissions.
The EIA predicts “more coal-fired power output, which is more environmentally destructive than the natural gas-fired production it displaces.” That’s the exact reverse of what the Biden administration wants.
Inadequate Energy Infrastructure
Moreover, inadequate energy infrastructure investments reduce global geopolitical security.
Without enough pipelines and export ports, the US will not supply more natural gas to Europe. American LNG is vital to Europe’s energy security and emission reduction aspirations.
A pleasure to host Commissioner @TimmermansEU today at @EUFORES_EU to discuss scaling-up clean energy in Europe https://t.co/QdMOROh7C7
— Ciarán Cuffe (@CiaranCuffe) May 4, 2022
The US already helped our European allies lessen their reliance on Russia, contributing 40% of their gas last year. The EU hopes to decrease its Russian gas imports by two-thirds.
The Biden presidency and the EU resolved the US would “strive to make sure” at least 15 billion cubic meters of water reach Europe this year.
We need more infrastructure and a solid commitment to expanding the global role of American LNG. This entails revising our policy on LNG export facilities and licenses to non-free-trade nations.
It was approved in March by the Department of Energy for two existing plants, Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi. The agency then approved two further projects under development. More work is needed in the next few months.
Band-aid solutions won’t ensure our energy future. Discussions regarding the proper route should transcend political lines. Instead, governments must examine severe and long-term energy solutions.
That entails not just utilizing massive US energy resources, but also constructing the required infrastructure to lower costs, combat climate change, and boost global energy security.