Updated Sep 21, 2022 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on what’s next for energy reliability

On Wednesday, September 21st, Axios climate and energy reporter Andrew Freedman and congressional reporter Alayna Treene led conversations exploring what’s next for energy reliability on the heels of the Inflation Reduction Act. Guests included Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio).

Sen. Michael Bennet explained how the investments of the Inflation Reduction Act will accelerate clean energy initiatives and what the legislation means for U.S. energy independence going forward.

  • On the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act: “I think this is a piece of legislation that’s going to endure, which is really important, too. In other words, I hear people say often, we have to act urgently on climate change, and I completely agree with that. But what’s also important is for us to create a durable solution, and this is a durable solution. I don’t think the opponents of this legislation are going to be able to reverse this legislation.”
  • On U.S. energy independence: “Before the IRA, I think you could argue that our lack of an energy policy in this country was inflationary. It was bad for our national security, bad for economic independence, and really bad at reducing emissions. Coal is up 20% since Joe Biden became president as a result of the rise in prices of natural gas. I think the IRA takes us into a place where over time, we’re going to be reducing costs for the American people.”

Rep. Bob Latta discussed his concerns with the Inflation Reduction Act’s provisions in the context of his district’s manufacturing focus and what to expect on energy strategy if the Republicans take back the majority in the House.

  • On his perceived shortfalls of the Inflation Reduction Act: “I don’t think it’s going to provide the power that we need in this country. And again, if you go back to 2008, we as Republicans came out with our all of the above energy strategy, and what that strategy is, of course, to make sure that everything from nuclear to clean coal and natural gas to hydro and then all of the different types of alternatives out there, but you can’t pick the winners and losers out there, and one part of the country is different from another.”
  • On energy strategy: “At the same time, we want to make sure that we have a modernized grid, because, again, we have to get this energy from point A to point B…we can’t be reliant like Europe is right now. You know, when you hear those reports of 25% of their natural gas and 40% of their oil is coming from Russia, we just can’t have that happen.”

In the View from the Top segment, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson highlighted the main challenges to strong energy reliability right now.

  • “If we’re going to electrify so much more of the economy, we got to ask, where’s that electricity going to come from, and is that electricity going to be available all the time? Solar, wind, resources are available part of the time, they can be an important part of a broader portfolio. But at the end of the day, you need power that’s there all the time. That’s going to be nuclear, or coal or natural gas, and so we have to recognize that portfolio approach.”

Thank you National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) for sponsoring this event.

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