DOE Nominee Supports U.S. Energy, Environmental Leadership
Posted February 12, 2021
America’s natural gas and oil industry is a reliable foundation for our country’s economic recovery and resurgence, as well as a key factor in helping the nation reach climate and environmental goals. In that context, it’s encouraging to hear President Biden’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Energy – former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm – express support for U.S. natural gas leadership and the opportunity to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions through liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.
The industry is committed to working with the Biden administration toward workable climate solutions, and natural gas-fueled power generation is key to a cleaner energy mix, at home and abroad.
In written comments to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Granholm cited the economic, environmental and geopolitical importance of U.S. LNG exports, noting that American-made natural gas is a leading contributor to lower-carbon electricity generation. Granholm said:
“I believe U.S. LNG exports can have an important role to play in reducing international consumption of fuels that have greater contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. If confirmed as Secretary, I also look forward to working with U.S. industry in ways to reduce emissions associated with this commodity.”
Granholm also expressed support for widespread energy access. She wrote:
“If confirmed as Secretary, I will work to ensure Americans have access have access to reliable, affordable, abundant, and clean energy supplies.”
This greater export capacity can translate into greater emissions savings for America’s trading partners. In fact, API’s recent lifecycle analysis found that, in China, Germany and India, using U.S. LNG rather than coal for electricity generation reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 50%.
Preliminary results also show that coal-to-natural gas switching in the industrial sectors of China, India and Vietnam can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 25%, on average. With industrial growth projected to drive natural gas demand in Asian markets over the next decade, U.S. LNG will play an important role in international emissions reductions. International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol explained:
“I see a huge opportunity for U.S. LNG, having a major market share in Asia, especially in replacing inefficient coal plants because the biggest headache today in China, India and Thailand…is the air pollution in the cities, local pollution in the cities. And natural gas may well be the key solution to all of those countries, and they’re building LNG terminals.”
Because climate change is a global challenge, America’s capacity to share environmentally friendly resources can enable other countries to adopt cleaner power generation and accelerate the world’s energy transition.
Between 2007 and 2019, coal-to-natural gas switching in the U.S. power sector led to a more than 30% reduction in domestic carbon dioxide emissions. And natural gas remains essential to balancing the deployment of our renewable resources at home, providing a flexible backstop when wind or solar generation fluctuates.
Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who served under President Obama, has noted that natural gas is instrumental to renewable uptake and pragmatic climate solutions:
“I have not seen a credible modeling of getting to deep decarbonization without having a continuing role for natural gas for some time.”
Beyond natural gas expansion, the Biden administration has signaled support for groundbreaking technologies – like carbon capture, utilization and storage – and the private sector is actively investing in these innovations to improve environmental performance. Granholm noted:
“To reach our net zero emissions goals, the United States will need to employ technology solutions for all fuel sources. If confirmed, I fully plan to commit resources to carbon management across the fuel and technology spectrum. I am particularly excited by the opportunities for game-changing advances in carbon capture and advanced nuclear technologies in the next several years.”
The U.S. natural gas and oil industry supports efforts to achieve meaningful progress toward climate targets. Exporting LNG is an effective, market-based way to make environmental progress, and we’re glad to see incoming Secretary Granholm shares that view.
About The Author
Sam Winstel is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. He comes to API from Edelman, where he supported communications marketing strategies for clients across the firm’s energy and federal government practices. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Sam graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina, and he currently resides in Washington, D.C.
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