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Environmental Edge
March 20, 2024

CERAWeek 2024: U.S. Energy Secretary Discusses Investments in Clean Energy, Economic Revitalization, and Permitting

Environmental Edge: Climate Change & Regulatory Insights

CERAWeek — the annual gathering of executives, policymakers, investors, and other leaders of global energy companies and economies — is happening now in Houston, and Arnold & Porter is pleased to participate again.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm delivered CERAWeek’s keynote address, discussing the Biden administration’s energy policies, thinking, and priorities:

  • Private Sector’s Role in America’s Clean Transition. Secretary Granholm explained that U.S. investment in clean energy is private-sector led and government-enabled. She emphasized that the combination of three bills — the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and CHIPS and Science Act — make the U.S. irresistible for clean energy investment.
  • Economic Revitalization. Secretary Granholm highlighted the unprecedented investment in clean energy technologies and shared that since the passage of the Investing in America Agenda, 600 factories announced they are coming to or expanding in America. Additionally, the incentives contributed to the longest stretch of unemployment in 50 years.
  • Next-Generation Solutions. President Biden’s energy policy is focused on next-generation solutions including clean hydrogen, advanced nuclear, carbon management, solar, wind, and others. Secretary Granholm shared that the U.S. is now leading all nations in its clean hydrogen strategy.
  • Geothermal Energy. Secretary Granholm announced the next Pathways to Commercial Liftoff Report: Next-Generation Geothermal Power. She emphasized that we can capture “the heat beneath our feet” and it can be a clean, reliable power for both industries and households. In her view, the oil and gas industry is well-positioned to lead in geothermal because it uses the same infrastructure, and companies can convert their existing oil and gas leases to geothermal leases without going through permitting review.
  • Investment in Disadvantaged Communities. A core part of President Biden’s industrial strategy is intended to help the poorest and most vulnerable Americans. Secretary Granholm shared that the administration’s laws, which offer extra incentives to locate clean energy projects in disadvantaged communities, have led to twice the investment in these communities versus other areas of the country.
  • REDI. Secretary Granholm also announced that the Department of Energy is creating a new program to empower communities to build their energy future: the Regional Energy Democracy Initiative (REDI). The project aims to help communities design and implement community benefit plans for their most pressing needs.
  • LNG. Secretary Granholm explained that the “LNG pause” is intended to study the impact of what is happening globally to determine what policy is in the public interest. She said that next year, it will be “well in the rear view mirror.”
  • AI. Secretary Granholm noted that energy demand has experienced a huge increase because of artificial intelligence (AI), data centers, cryptocurrency, and other technologies. She explained that because of the increase in energy use, we must think differently to ensure we have enough power, while also working towards net zero by 2050 and 100% clean electricity by 2035.
  • Permitting. Secretary Granholm acknowledged that the biggest bottleneck is permitting. She explained that while it is hard to get cooperation, there is some bipartisanship around permitting reform. She also believes AI can help transform permitting by using machine learning to speed up the process.
  • Energy Security. Secretary Granholm recognized that energy security has become an increasingly important consideration, and national security and energy security are inextricably bound.

Arnold & Porter regularly advises companies on the Biden administration’s regulations and priorities that impact the energy, manufacturing, technology, automotive, and other industries, and helps companies bring market-leading energy projects to life. If you have questions about these topics, please reach out to the authors or your trusted Arnold & Porter advisor.

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2024 All Rights Reserved. This blog post is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.