We still need fuel on our way to a greener future

Jeremy Hitchcock is a partner at New North Ventures. He lives in Manchester.

As an innovator, our country’s transition to green energy is exciting. There is huge promise in what the future holds. But we still have a long way to go before our zero-carbon dreams become reality.

In the meantime, we cannot continue to expect ordinary Americans to suffer the highest energy costs in modern history. Families shouldn’t be in a position where they have to choose between essential goods and the gas to get them. They should not be in a position where they experience summer heat or winter cold without the resources to cool or heat their home. The burden of America’s energy revolution should not fall on these families.

For decades, President Biden has been a strong advocate for a green revolution. In the context of history, this will surely be his legacy. But, given the perfect storm of war, supply chain issues, and rampant inflation, our president must use every resource at his disposal to bring down US energy costs. We need his help to preserve the quality of life that most Americans are used to.

The President can demonstrate his commitment to reducing costs for American workers by adopting a comprehensive energy strategy during our green energy transition. This policy should continue to take advantage of our national oil and natural gas resources, while also investing in green alternatives such as nuclear, wind or geothermal energy.

One way for the President to show leadership during our energy crisis and take concrete steps to stabilize global energy markets is to continue the U.S. oil and gas leasing program.

To continue our national oil and gas program, under federal law, an offshore lease plan in the Gulf of Mexico must be finalized by the Department of the Interior every five years. The good news is that the DOI released a proposed five-year plan for oil and gas exploration on July 1. Even better, this plan proposes eleven new lease sales over the next five years. The bad news is that the plan is months behind schedule, and presidential administration officials say there’s no guarantee the final plan will include new lease sales. Worse still, it could take until 2023 for the plan to be finalized, and if the final plan contains leasing, potentially no new leasing until 2024.

Another way to increase energy production is to build on the efforts of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advanced Reactor program, under which nine companies are vying for regulatory approval. Some of these companies have been working on regulatory issues for 10 years, reimbursing the Department of Energy, and they still have a decade to go before they can start construction and builds. Many of these designs are based on the same reactors used on submarines and aircraft carriers that have stellar safety records and can provide distributed power.

America does not have time to wait to take the necessary steps to stabilize our energy markets. We need the president and others to affirm that there will be new offshore leases allowed in the Gulf of Mexico. Most importantly, we need the administration to set a date for the first lease sale of the new five-year program. This will help reassure the oil and gas industry and investors to continue funding US oil and gas exploration to produce some of the lowest carbon barrels in the world. It will also show the world that America is back on the path to energy leadership – a resource we can provide to the world, creating more stability in the world. Without buy-in from our nation’s leaders, the US energy sector will not receive the investment it needs to prepare for the future.

President Biden has done more in the fight against climate change than any leader in the Western world. Now is the time for him to stabilize the energy markets through a comprehensive strategy that exploits all of America’s energy resources.

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