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Energy needs a separate AI roadmap

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May 15, 2024
Sen. Martin Heinrich

Heinrich in January. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Senate's bipartisan AI roadmap contains only passing mention of the technology's power suck.

Why it matters: The lack of emphasis shows that Congress hasn't quite caught up to the flurry of excitement and fear about AI in the energy sector right now.

Zoom in: The roadmap encourages committees to address "the rising energy demand of AI systems to ensure the U.S. can remain competitive with the CCP and keep energy costs down."

  • It doesn't really get into the climate implications of that new demand.
  • Still, we don't think that means lawmakers will ignore the issue. It's not like we expected this report to go deep on transmission cost allocation.
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich, one of the roadmap's architects, acknowledged that energy "is not a central focus." But, he told Axios, "we need to, in part, use AI to figure out some of these grid management issues, too."

Behind the scenes: Several lobbyists have told Axios that their conversations on the Hill indicate lawmakers are at the very early stages of understanding AI's energy implications.

  • Energy and tech companies are lobbying on it, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm brings it up at every turn, and it's hit the trade conferences like a ton of bricks this year.
  • But that hasn't quite trickled down to the Hill yet in the form of hearings and AI-specific energy legislation.

Go deeper: No one has followed this more closely that our colleagues at Axios Pro Tech Policy. Read their story here.

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