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The United States Energy Association (USESA) recently held its 20th Annual State of the Energy Industry Forum at the National Press Club in Washington, gathering leading energy trade association CEOs to outline their respective policy objectives and priorities for 2024. After a half-day of four panels, 20 speakers and keynotes, all assembled leaders echoed the same theme: the critical need for permitting reform and regulatory certainty. Speakers noted public policy as the number one risk to the clean and affordable energy transition of the future, citing that there isn’t a one size fits all technology policy.  

Trade association CEOs represented natural gas (LNG), coal, renewables including solar, electric cooperatives, energy storage, nuclear, gas turbines, electric vehicles, petroleum, and hydrogen. In his keynote address, S&P Global Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin said that the energy transition is a multi-dimensional one. The trade association CEOs all agreed that there is no silver bullet for a successful energy transition and that a comprehensive mix will be needed to achieve net-zero goals while keeping the lights on. 

Two more themes that emerged were the increased demand for LNG and vulnerability of the grid. Geopolitical tensions caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine caused Europe to look elsewhere for LNG, leading the US to rise to the #1 exporter of LNG for the first half of 2023. The “Shale Revolution,” (hydraulic fracturing technology and horizontal drilling propelled by public and private innovations) also allowed the US to become a leader in oil and natural gas and to compete with Russia. The demand and supply of LNG is strong and plentiful in the US, but leaders struggle with permitting to obtain the necessary infrastructure and pipelines to transport LNG. ACEC is working with Congress and the Council on Environmental Quality to implement NEPA amendments of the IRA to assist with permitting delays. To get involved join the ACEC Energy and Water and Environment Committees.

The grid is also under pressure due to extreme weather events, growth in the electric vehicle market and the increase in data center development. During peak demand morning hours, coal is still the leading provided resource in the US. America’s Power President & CEO Michelle Bloodworth brought up the importance of coal in the energy mix as an existing resource that is abundant, affordable, and reliable. However, the race to electrify the U.S. has put added stress on the grid, making it unstable, and the EPA is retiring coal plants too soon, panelists agreed. To hear more from Bloodworth, tune into ACEC’s next Market Briefing on the “The Growing Energy Market” on 2/21/24 at 1:30 p.m. EST here. For the top five trends impacting the energy and utilities market and for more information related to this article, subscribe to ACEC’s Market Briefs 


January 24, 2024



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