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tv   Senate Hearing on the Energy Sector Climate Change  CSPAN  March 15, 2021 1:28am-3:45am EDT

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president biden's cabinet nominees. they will take a vote at 5:30 p.m. eastern on the interior secretary. later in the week, they may also take votes on nominees for the small business administrator, u.s. trade representative, and javier becerra to be hhs secretary. the house returns for legislative business tuesday. this week, they are expected to work on women's rights and immigration bills, providing a path to citizenship for migrant workers and children. watch the house live on c-span, the senate on c-span2. >> and now, the senate energy committee looks at climate change and the energy sector. los angeles mayor eric garcetti, xcel energy ceo ben fowke and energy policy experts testify about the effect of the
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-- the energy grid, and the state of the natural gas and nuclear power industries. >> good morning, everybody. i call this meeting to order. senator capito and i are pleased to be joined this morning by a distinguished panel of witnesses to discuss climate change and our electricity sector. mr. rusco, who is here in person, welcome. mayor garcetti, who i presume is out in california. mr. fowke, ms. snyder, mr. wood, we welcome you one and all. experts talk about climate change, things like parts per million and carbon dioxide equivalent, go beyond these terms and the reality is more severe and the urgency more apparent. in texas last month, that reality hit home.
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an estimated 4.5 million texans lost power. some stranded for days on end in the freezing cold without heat or running water. families literally froze to death. or were poisoned by carbon dioxide. -- carbon monoxide or were trapped in fires. overall, the crisis took the lives of 80 people and the estimate of damage to people's homes, their businesses and livelihoods are expected to reach over $90 billion. it is heartbreaking and it should never have happened in this country. it is clear texas was ill prepared for unusually frigid temperatures. gas-fired power plants natural , gas wellheads succumbed to temperatures they were not prepared for. it was not the first time we saw devastation fueled by climate change. sadly, it will not be the last. as we are here today, a report
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released this morning by the government accountability office found climate change is expected to have far-reaching effects on the electricity grid that could cost the american people tens of billions of dollars in damage and power outages, like the devastation we just saw in texas. damage and power outages, like the devastation we just saw in texas. a future of suffering from climate change is not written in stone. we can invest in a cleaner electric sector. mr. president says, we need to build back better. a judge wants asked in a tories bank robber during the great depression, the judge asked, why do you rob banks? he replied, that is where the money is. people ask me, why do we need to
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reduce climate emissions? that is where a good deal of the emissions are. as it turns out, the electricity sector is the second largest driver of climate change in our country. transportation is the first. responsible for about 28% of our country's total greenhouse gas emissions part electricity a second. a source of 27%. industry is the third, accounting for about 22%. it adds up to more than three quarters of the greenhouse gas emissions in our country. if we want a cleaner, safer planet -- and we do, all of us -- we have to make the reduction of emissions a priority. president obama understood this, that is what he set a national target of reducing powerplant emissions my 32%.
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the clean power plan was crafted after responding to 4.3 million public comments and working with local leaders and stakeholders. i double checked -- 4.3 million -- that is the correct number of comments. they responded to just about every one of them. there were plenty of critics who argued several years ago that these were too ambitious. president trump agreed and he repealed the clean power plan and replaced it with an unambitious, ultimately illegal plan thrown out by courts. it turns out the critics could not have been more wrong about the clean power plant. american utilities are far surpassing goals. we will hear soon from one of our witnesses, mr. fowke from capito energy -- xcel energy.
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they are on track to reduce 85% of carbon emissions by 2030. this move toward clean energy did not happen by chance. state and local programs are driving energy markets and utilities to go clean. today, 30 states have adopted a mandatory renewable or clean energy standard for their electricity sector. 30 states. 14 of them have plans in place to transition to one hunter percent renewable or zero emission energy. dozens of utility companies have pledged to de-carbonized. this is encouraging progress. the one-way we can get to a truly clean and safe electricity sector is if we come together, a lasting, bipartisan path forward. president biden, when i hear the
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words clean energy, the words that come to mind for me are job creation. we need every job we can create and grow. clean energy can create millions of good paying jobs, strengthen our economy and build a more sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. we have a real opportunity to make this happen for the american people that think we have an obligation not to let them down. with that, i am delighted to turn to our ranking member, shelley cap for her opening statement. >> i want to thank the witnesses who are joining us and the opportunity to talk about an issue that is important to everyone. i think the recent cold weather disaster the chairman talked about in texas and similar weather-related outages have revealed two major challenges for the electric sector that policymakers must address.
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one is reliability. we need to ensure our energy systems are resilient to the impacts, such as extreme weather, storms, wildfires or cyber attacks. if an emergency occurs, want to make sure any of those impacts are remedied quickly. the other is affordability. building and maintaining a power system, especially with innovative technologies comes at a price. we need to make sure we are not making it unaffordable to turn on lights, especially during and after an external challenge to grid reliability. also, for those who are in the low to mid incomes, where the higher cost of utilities are particularly difficult to manage. i would suggest there are two key strategies this committee can support to advance these goals. first, we need in all of the above energy strategy.
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clean energy is not just wind and solar power. it includes nuclear energy, low-carb and natural gas, hydropower, geothermal, battery storage -- innovative technologies, such as carbon capture utilization. fuel diversity will pay dividends in addressing reliability by providing flexibility to switch sources if one generation becomes unavailable. despite the progress, some may seek to ignore, american emissions have decreased in the power sector over the last decade. global emissions have risen, especially in china. as of 2019, carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 33% since 2005, and 2017 marked the ninth time this century the u.s. reduced emissions more than any other nation.
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we need to continue to build up america's energy leadership and invest in innovation and innovative ways that would directly tie in with the theme i mentioned before -- we cannot build back better if we cannot build anything at all. while general oversight of the grid is not within the committee's jurisdiction, proper permitting absolutely is. certainty in permitting and consistently of regulations is essential for building the umbrella infrastructure to achieve goals of reliability and affordability. for too long, states and project sponsors have been stuck in a regulatory purgatory, seeking endless approvals from up to 13 different federal agencies. additionally, dozens of state and local approvals are typically required before construction.
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building on the streamlining provisions enacted under title 41, and the creation of the federal permitting counsel, the one federal decision policy called for early coordination predictable timelines to deliver decisions in a timely manner without compromising any environmental protections. however, one federal decision was revoked under president biden's first actions in office, when he signed executive order 13990. it will be hard to deliver on clean energy is permitting complexity represents an insurmountable challenge. as one example, new wind and solar projects are often instructed -- constructed hundreds of miles from consumers, far from transition lines to move electricity where it is needed. without the ability to timely permit, the ambitious goals set
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by president biden of zero emissions by 2035 is just a costly pipedream. if there was any doubt to the path by democrat frank want us to think about, if we look -- my democrat friends want us to think about -- i am pleased we have mayor garcetti on the panel because i want to look at what is specifically going on in the city of los angeles. according to the bureau of labor statistics, in january, los angeles households paid 52.5% more for electricity than the nationwide average in the same month. that is despite l.a.'s famously beautiful and milder weather. this is nearly 7% more than los angeles residents paid last january. the trend is going in the wrong direction for affordability in the city of angels. with reliability in 2019, the
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average american lost power for approximately 4.7 hours, including as result of extreme weather events. in california, also in 2019, customers had 9.78 hours without power, which is more than a five hour difference, which does not sound like much, but if you look at it percentage-wise, it is double the amount of time. wildfires and controlled outages are not the only things to blame. los angeles led the way with 5787 blackouts in the year 2017, impacting more than 6.4 million customers. that goes to my reliability premise. that is before ambitious plans to electrify transmission and shutter the state's remaining nuclear plants and put pressure on its natural gas plants. i noticed the mayor will be closing -- it said three natural
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gas plants print california, its demand for power stresses systems of neighboring states. for now, it looks like things will continue to go in that direction in california. i suggest we can do it a better way for the rest of the country. i do not disagree with everything the mayor has put forward. in his testimony, he hit on my other premise of were i think we need to go. i was pleased to see and hope to engage him on him being interested on the permit streamlining aspect of getting cleaner energy to every household. this is certainly something i agree with them on and i believe to be a priority for our committee. i want to thank the chairman and take a moment -- should i introduce question mark -- should i introduce? >> never a bad time to introduce west virginian. what you think all of the
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witnesses and particularly jim would for being here to testify. jim wood is a director of energy at the university of west virginia. in 2019, mr. wood was appointed by our governor to the task force. the task force is working to bring manufacturing opportunity to the state ahead of the anticipated expansion of the industry in appalachia. additionally, he has 30 years of experience in the power industry. he came to west virginia university in 2013. he was ceo of the massachusetts based company with power generation technologies. prior to that, he was deputy assistant secretary of the office of clean coal for
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president obama and was responsible for a $4.5 million project based on carbon capture and storage, fuel cells. i am really happy to have jim, i have relied upon him as an expert. we are happy to have him that wvu and pleased to have him on the committee today. >> mr. wood, welcome. it is good to have another west virginia and in the room. i want to recognize the senator and introduce the mayor of the largest city in california. >> thank you, mr. chair and ranking member capito for inviting me and allowing me to introduce my friend, the mayor of the second largest city in
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america, mayor garcetti. he is a fourth-generation angeleno, born and raised in the san fernando valley. he is a true public servant. we served together on the los angeles city council, he is an intelligence officer in that united states naval reserve and currently serves as the 42nd mayor of the city of santos. throughout his tenure, he has been eating the way it was some of the nation's most ambitious climate goals, helpful over the course of the last four years was the prior administration -- mayor garcetti mobilized mayors across america with the paris climate agreement. the city of los angeles has the largest municipal electrical and water utility in the country. we refer to it as the los angeles department of water and power. that utility is rapidly and
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successfully -- california's state renewable energy goals ahead of schedule. mayor garcetti has served in leadership roles for l.a. metro, our transit agency. serving as chair, where he advanced the letter fixation of the bus fleet -- electrification for the bus fleet. leadership of one of the largest metropolitan transit systems in the nation, he has that a critical voice locally, regionally and nationally on climate change, not just for the sake of achieving climate goals, but fostering economic growth and opportunity. please welcome my friend, mayor eric garcetti. >> thank you for that introduction. can you hurt me? >> i can. >> ina retired navy captain -- i
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am a retired navy captain. also, the intelligence officer for my squadron. are you still in the reserves? thank you for your service in that capacity. with that, several other distinguished witnesses on the panel, frank rusco, live and in person for today's hearing. he is the dr. of natural resources an environment of the government accountability office. his job is to serve as our watchdog and help us be more fiscally responsible. we are also fortunate to have two other witnesses join us virtually.
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ben fowke, the ceo of xcel energy. also, sandra snyder, a vice president of the natural gas association of america. we thank you for joining us today. mr. rusco, why don't we start with you. you may proceed you are ready. >> thank you. members of the committee, i am pleased to be here today to discuss the need for greater climate resilience of the electricity grid. the fourth national climate assessment, published in november of 2018, warned about extreme weather and other disaster causing events, will increase in that adaptation measures will need to be taken to avoid large societal losses. in addition, the electricity
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grid, as part of energy infrastructure more broadly, is considered a critical infrastructure that should be resilient to all hazards to protect public health, safety, the economy and national security. they report being issued this morning looks at climate resilience of the electricity grid in this context. we found the costs of large power outages that occurred recently in texas will likely cost many billions of dollars annually unless the grid is made more resilient to climate related extreme weather, wildfires and flooding. these include the direct cost of repairing damage caused to the grid, but also includes significant but hard to quantify societal costs. these include the costs to consumers and businesses that lose power during climate-related events. they also include public health and safety disruptions when power to other key sectors is
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disrupted. the cost borne by consumers during power outages are not equally distributed across income levels print frequently, lower income consumers suffer disproportionately during power outages because they have less access to alternative power sources, such as rooftop solar or generators, and fewer resources to be able to temporarily relocate out of the affected area. lower income areas are less likely to afford increases in rates, which is the way maintenance cost of the grid are covered. how do we know what investments to make and how can it be paid for? the disaster risk framework provides some ideas. first, the federal government needs to play a role in providing quality information to all stakeholders, including private owners of the grid,
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state and local regulators and rate payers about the risk associated with climate related power disruptions. this can help state and local regulators understand the need for resilience measures. secondly, the federal government can play a role in integrating -- to achieve a consensus on what specific actions need to be taken. third, the federal government can provide positive incentives or reduce disincentives to encourage resiliency measures to be undertaken. the key federal agencies at play , one has the capacity and has taken many steps in cooperation with some utilities, national labs and other key stakeholders to identify climate change risks to the grid. however, the other needs to develop a plan to guide its resilience efforts and to better leverage the national labs in these efforts.
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doe also needs an agencywide strategy to climate change risks. similarly, one needs to assess climate risks to the grid and plan a response using authority over grid reliability. doe can help identify and plan what resilience measures should be taken, this leaves a question about how it will be paid for. some observations from our body of work may be useful. climate change poses risks to systems and creates a fiscal exposure to the federal government. the federal government can reduce fiscal exposure if efforts are coordinated and directed toward common goals, such as improving climate resilience. secondly, climate resilience will take a whole society approach to determine what
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measures to take and what parts of society bear what costs. lower income populations often bear a disproportionate burden during disaster events and are less able to pay for individual resilience measures or for those built into the greater system. lastly, as the national climate session advises, even though there remains uncertainty about the precise effects and climate change in every sector, acting sooner rather than later, learning along the way is the appropriate path toward climate adaptation. this ends my oral statement. i will be happy to answer any questions. >> you have given us a lot to chew on. we look forward to asking you questions. mayor garcetti, we thank you for joining us. welcome. >> thank you so much. to the entire group, thank you
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so much. two decades later, we are proud of your representation. i visited with them, thank you for the honor. i am honored to testify on this issue before you today. the nation's largest power and water utility. managing demands equal to that in the state of colorado just to give you a picture of our challenges. an energy grid that is 100% renewable, reliable can be achieved. in 2002, our utility was 2% renewable, 50% coal. today, we are 40% renewable.
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a bipartisan group of over 500 mayors, republicans, emma kress, independent -- democrats, independents. it is creating economic opportunity, fueling the next generation of american innovation. it is an important part. we have to build it from scratch. we are building a renewable grid on our own. all while helping to keep the power flowing 24/7. power for ventilators keeping loved ones alive. 40% of all the grids.
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power for stadiums and venues that help with economic recovery. we have not had a single blackout in los angeles because we make sure renewable energy is also reliable energy. we have joined with partners across the united states, hydropower in the pacific northwest, wind power in wyoming and new mexico. in los angeles, rooftops, it is not the rate of electricity that everyone cares about. $1.5 billion in savings. climate events are getting more frequent. they are more dangerous. people are literally losing their lives.
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this makes it urgent. july we have invested in infrastructure, distributing stations overloaded, some without power for a few days. it's time for us to change that old book. the second example is october 20 19, 80 800 acres had burned and we became close to losing our transmission into los angeles. we came within an inch of rolling blackouts, but we could rely on local energy and rooftops that kept the energy going. there are two questions that occupy the minds of young americans. [inaudible]
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zero carbon grid, zero carbon transportation, zero grid waste, and zero waste of water. 100% no later than 2045. we are working with the national energy lab to have the biggest study of its kind in american history to make it more reliable and cheaper. 280,000 households. that was cheaper than a new gas plant. we look at our ability not only to invest in jobs, but invest in the future. make your investments bigger, bolder and faster.
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senator urgency has to match mogul -- local drive. i look forward to the questions and answers, but this is the moment to think big, act fast, and yes, to also look at the regulatory power. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you for those words. we will now turn to bend -- mr. foe. you are allowed to present your testimony. >> i am the chairman and ceo of xl energy, an energy company serving eight western and midwestern states. i also serve as the chairman of the board of the edison electric institute. xl energy has long been an energy leader. we achieved a 50% reduction in carbon dioxide emission from 2005 levels, and just over two
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years ago i announced a two-part goal for xl energy's electric business, to deliver 100% carbon free energy by 2050 and in the interim to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2030. xl energy is a clean energy leader because we take advantage of the extraordinary wind and solar resources in our backyard. but our whole industry is moving. since december 18, december 2018, rather, several companies have established zero or net zero targets on their own. our strategy is working. we have announced plans to greatly expand our portfolio of low-cost renewables, extend the life of one of our units, and retire or reduce the operation of our coal plants. these plants will reduce emissions while keeping service reliable and affordable. they rely on proven technologies , especially renewable energy.
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by 2030, we estimate that renewable energy will make up two thirds of our energy mix. however, renewable energy can only take us so far. at higher levels of intermittent renewables, the cost of the energy system begins to skyrocket and its reliability grades. that means the whole industry, even xl energy with our remarkable renewable resources, will need some form of new carbon free 24/7 dispatch of old generation -- dispatchable generation to get to our goal of zero. these technologies include advanced hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture storage, or other things perhaps that we haven't thought of. i believe public policy can make these technologies a reality, and we, along with eei and environmental groups are encouraging congress to pass a carbon free technology initiative focused on federal policies that will encourage their deployment.
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these technologies require the kind of innovation that i know america can deliver. with the right policies, i am confident that our laboratories, companies and entrepreneurs can develop these technologies and create new jobs and remarkable opportunities both here at home and abroad. but these technologies won't be available overnight. until they arrive, we will still need natural gas and existing nuclear generation in our systems. this will facilitate high levels of energy and maintain grill -- grid reliability. for the next two decades at least, natural gas and nuclear do not stand in the way of the energy clean transformation. i believe they enable it. in other words, we need a balanced, diverse energy portfolio, and that is the key to an affordable, reliable energy system. the extreme weather that
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impacted our nation on presidents' day weekend made it clear. for our system, we were able to maintain electric power and natural gas service for our customers, but we did experience the enormous fuel cost increases. the reliability of our system was a result of actions we have taken over the last decade to invest in a balanced resource list, one that includes nuclear coal, gas, wind and solar, and we relied on all these resources during the cold snap. we also risk vested -- invested in our resilience, for example, protecting our wind technology with cold weatherization, and i believe we will be needing our natural gas and pipeline system more than ever moving forward. with the right policies, electric utilities can lead the nation to an affordable,
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reliable and prosperous clean energy future, and congress can help. we believe the right kind of clean energy standard would support the clean energy transformation, to accelerate development, congress must also provide tax incentives by providing a direct payoff in addressing tax policies. i provide more detail in my written policies for the record. thank you for the opportunity to speak today and i look forward to your questions. thank you. >> mr. folk, thanks for those comments. we are delighted you have been able to join us. next in our lineup, sandor snyder. please proceed. >> good morning. my name is sandra snyder and i am the vice president of environments at the interstate national -- -- natural gas association of america. thank you for holding this hearing and giving me the opportunity to testify. i appreciate the committees
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focus on climate change, energy reliability, and fostering growth as we build back better. we transport natural gas through an underground network of pipelines that is connected to the interstate highway system. these transmission pipelines typically span multiple states and are in major natural gas supply base and then consumption areas. this has been maintained using private capital. i have four main points i would like to convey. first, the natural transmission and storage sector has made progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. second, natural gas enables cleaner, reliable and affordable energy across the u.s. and the world. third, the infrastructure permitting predictability is key to building back better and forth, natural gas empowers critical energy services vital to our economy. the natural gas transmission and storage sector has been and continues to be committed to being part of the climate solution.
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between 2011 and 2019, the average methane emissions from natural gas transmission and storage compressor stations decreased by 31%. even as we made these improvements, in 2018, we issued voluntary commitments to reduce methane emissions from our facilities. in january of this year, members went further by committing to working together as an industry to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from their natural gas transmission and storage assets by 2015. our members are committed to reducing the carbon intensity of their infrastructure by reducing emissions from the transmission of natural gas using new technologies and exploring opportunities for infrastructure to potentially evolve in the future. to be successful, greater investment into research and development will be necessary, as well as new constructive energy policies and practices. natural gas infrastructure
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enables reductions in carbon dioxide emissions across the u.s. and global economies, without compromising reliability or affordability. between 2005 and 2019, co2 emissions from u.s. power sectors declined by 33%. switching to natural gas accounted for more than half of those reductions. additionally, to support the growth of renewable energy, members will provide a service as necessary for flexible, fast ramping generation and reliable energy storage to minimize the risk of power disruptions. a survey found that interstate pipelines delivered 99.79% of firm contractual commitments to transportation customers at the primary delivery points in their contract. furthermore, liquefied natural gas exports from the u.s. can help other countries meet their energy needs while also reducing emissions. clarity and flexibility in the infrastructure permitting
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process are key to building back better. interstate natural gas pipeline projects are subject to regulatory oversight by multiple federal agencies, including the u.s. army corps of engineers and the u.s. fish and wildlife service. to increase access to natural gas, come limit the growth of renewable energy, and deliver lower carbon fuel, we need clear regulatory requirements that can be applied in a consistent fashion. we have spent years on litigation because certain states have refused to comply with the clear directions under the clean water act, providing this timeline and scope of their authority to investigate water impact. epa recently engaged in the rulemaking and advised these regulations to prevent states from overstepping their authority. similarly, regulations were amended last year to face many
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issues addressed in litigation, including the scope and content of a federal permitting agencies need for review. a lack of regulatory clarity hampers involvement in the natural gas industry, as well as other sectors that are trying to move america towards a cleaner energy future. finally, natural gas is a foundational fuel that powers our current and future economy. we need affordable energy to recover from the pandemic while creating new jobs, healing growth, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. one third of natural gas consumed in the u.s. is used for power generation. it is also used to produce products and services such as cars, computers, prescription drugs, and construction materials. even as the office for renewable energy may expand, there continues to be a need for natural gas and associated infrastructure. thank you again for the opportunity to testify. >> ms. snyder, thank you for
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joining us. we thank you very much for your testimony. last but not least from west virginia, the mountain state, mr. wood. >> chairman, ranking member, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to give testimony and answer your questions. senator, thank you also for your generous introduction. west virginia university is a public land-grant research intensive university founded in 1867. it is designated a -- university by carnegie classification of institutes. examples of west virginia's innovative research activities include developing rare earth oxide extraction process using coal mine waste. this research is being done with the support of the national energy technology laboratory in
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collaboration with virginia tech and rockwell automation. replacing high carbon emitting, methane reforming processes from the catalyst proto-chemical conversion of methane to co2 free hydrogen and solid pure carbon. developing technologies to integrate state-of-the-art, innovative, fiber optic and micro seismic sensors to increase data production and machine learning applications with accurate reservoir characterization and modeling. research into technical and economic advances of renewable geothermal sources of energy and in conjunction with cornell and west virginia national guard, we researched and designed for this sources on the campus.
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finally, the sponsor the national alternative fuels training consortium, which is available to train people, national, global, to maintain vehicles powered by alternative fuels, including electricity. there are number of important and practical considerations in addressing the challenges faced in the electricity sector in respect to climate change and fostering economic rose. first is affordability. just as manufacturers seek low-cost labor or mechanisms reduce the cost to produce a product, as electric rates rise, we will seek low-price sources for electricity in order to remain competitive. this will slow economic growth in areas unable to attract manufacturing and will shift cost recovery away from the industry into nonindustrial consumers. today, there are manufacturers searching, even demanding low-cost renewable resources.
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second is reliability. most forms of electric generation are constructed and operated to be very reliable. a natural gas compliant cycle can operate 100 years, windmills can operate for three years between oil changes, but require maintenance two to three times a year, which is scheduled when the wind stops blowing. the wind farms in west virginia are where the wind blows. transmission can occur wherever there are viable pipelines. coal plants are the principal supply of energy in west virginia and coal supplies are plentiful. more parts of the state are cloudy from october till mid spring. fourth is stability. the grid operator must have a per viable plan associated with
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wind and solar energy. grid operations must be well integrated with locations and renewable and nonrenewable sources of generations, and hardened against cybersecurity. there is an authority to make a live thing and ion storage project. they have begun discussions with the army corps of engineers on issues of data, where they point to areas that can be used for storage. storage technology will need approval to provide an effective economical replacement of energy during periods of remit and see. between 1998 and 2018, our co2 emissions decline 3.2%, only one of 15 states in the united states. the implication for us is the cost of effective cc u.s. must increase to be able to maintain some amount of coal and gas generation in the state to help
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offset the intermittency problem. passage of tax credits was a boost, but in some parts of the state, the geology is unsuitable for storage of co2 . i hope this information is useful and thank you for your time and attention. >> thank you for those comments. great of you to join us. senator o, senator manchin and i are working with gaston institute for a workshop in west virginia, maybe in morgantown in late spring that focuses on, how do we help make sure the folks whose jobs, whose previous jobs have gone away, how do we make sure they land on their feet and have a bright future, as well as we look to reduce the amount of carbon pollution in our country and on our planet. i want each of you to give us a
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good idea on how to do that. give us a good idea on how to better ensure folks who are facing real hardship because of their contribution, if you will, towards helping reduce carbon monoxide on the planet, they have lost in many cases their livelihood. your advice on what we can do to reach back and help them? let's start with mr. roscoe. any thoughts that you have? let's continue down the line. go ahead, mr. roscoe. >> thank you. i think the energy system is in a wide transition. it started really with the advent of lower-cost natural gas as a result of the hydraulic fracturing innovation, and that has been the primary driver behind retirements of coal plants and nuclear power plants
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as well. the rapid expansion in recent years of renewable resources has also helped with, or furthered that transition. a further transition we need to think about is, almost every major car manufacturer in the world has now said they are going to electrify their fleet sooner rather than later. so we are really looking at a massive transition in energy, and that will have implication on jobs regionally and there will need to be thoughtful policies in place to try to find work and training in new sectors for people who are losing their job as a result of this transition. i'm sorry, i don't have specific
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ideas -- >> that's fine, you can hold it right there. let's turn next -- i would like to go to the chairman of xl. been full -- been fold -- ben faulk, will you give us some ideas? >> it's personal when it's your community or job being lost as part of this clean energy transition. what we have done is be proactively talking to our employees and our communities well in advance, giving long lead times. for employees, we are using natural attrition, retirement, and retraining any employees that want to continue to work at excel so they can have other jobs. we have developed very good partnerships with our unions in that regard. for our communities, what we like to do is typically repurposed that site with replacement generation so the tax base is preserved.
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we also doubled down on our economic efforts and have been successful in bringing businesses into those communities using existing infrastructure in place, and it has worked out quite honestly pretty well. that's what we have done and are planning to do going forward. >> great. ms. snyder, any thoughts you may have? maybe a minute, please? >> natural gas is a foundational fuel we view as being necessary to address the climate pollution. going forward, we are committed to expanding the availability of natural gas and complementing the renewable forces that may be growing, and also transporting lower carbon fuels. think there will continue to be jobs available in our industry and we recognize the need to keep the cost of energy down so that it is not having a negative impact on other parts of the economy. it's so important to
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manufacturing industries, as well as small businesses like restaurants, that they have affordable natural gas available. >> mr. wood, please. thanks, ma'am. >> i am more inclined to think about planning first. i think we need to stimulate r&d in renewables. there is nothing that i know of that will stop the intermittency of using renewables that we have. the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine, you don't get power. when you don't have power, you need and ability to bring power from outside into the areas served by that. we need a process so our wind and power and other renewables exist, and you can subsidize power from outside that area. second, i think we need some work on development of lithium,
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electric batteries are going to require lithium, so that is something that we don't make a lot of in the states. it is being made a lot of in china. third, besides making electricity with natural gas, we think there are other things you can do with natural gas to make products. >> mayor garcetti, would you give us a couple of brief ideas, and then we will turn it over to the ranking member? >> part of the great success of what we have been doing is seeing our economy get a huge boost. by 2030, 100 thousand new jobs, and job growth, in which california outpaced the country after last recession, have mostly been green jobs. that's a term that gets misused a lot, but these are good paying jobs, and we are investing in
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jobs in utah and wyoming, new mexico and other places as well. one, as a national training center to infrastructure jobs, you can do this especially with people who have been left behind in the economy. communities of color, poor communities, rural communities where folks need that transition, and we can show you some examples of that we have done in los angeles, and allowing local hire for infrastructure, which the senate will take up later this year, is absolutely critical to making sure those jobs are local and if you find specific people, not just statistics, but people who are transitioning from one job to the next, find out who they are, train them through community colleges, and get them in these new, good paying, little cost jobs. >> i skipped over one of our witnesses, and i will come back to you so you can respond to the same question. thank you very much. >> i will yield my time -- i am
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not -- senator inhofe can go in front of me, but i am not giving up my time. >> mr. faulk, we had problems throughout this country. my state, oklahoma, is the coldest it has been since 1878, so that is something we have not experienced before, but we handled it real well. if you look at our neighbors down there in texas, we had outages, but we didn't have those problems. it was cold that saved -- it was cold that saved the day. coal is normally 10% of our mix and we had to use that up to 40%. that's the reason that we didn't have the problems that some of the other states -- i think that speaks to your concern about the
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fuel diversity and how important that is. now, i would say if our grids were operating on renewables alone during that storm, what would that have looks like? would it have been more outages or less? >> i don't think the big grid can operate on renewables alone. i think it does need to be backed up, senator, and increasingly the nation is moving away from coal and towards natural gas, but we have to have better coordination between the power sector and the gas sector because the interdependency is not getting less, they are getting greater. we also have some cold, we have some natural gas, and all of our plans work. they were ready to go. i think it can be done without coal, but you will have to have a dispatch of all resource like
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natural gas -- >> that's what saved us in the state of oklahoma. also the statement, when you stated in your opening remarks, we wrote it down because i liked the way you said it. for the next two decades at least, natural gas and nuclear do not stand in the way of the industry's clean energy transition. they make it possible. that's a great statement. i would like to ask ms. snyder, do you agree with that statement? >> yes, i absolutely do. natural gas is foundational to our energy system and i think it is going to play a very key role in addressing climate change. you know, around one third of electricity is generated using natural gas right now in the u.s., and our system is extremely reliable. looking at a survey of the interstate national gas pipeline members, over a 10 year span,
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they could meet their contractual commitments 99.79% of the time. we are aware of how important that reliability is and look forward to transporting lower carbon fuels. >> that's good. i appreciate that very much. one thing i wanted to get into, and i think there is time now, ms. snyder, to address this, is the permitting reform in the previous administration. there is a lot of criticism of our previous president on their feeling about the reforms, and i have always felt anything that takes five years can be done in two years. at that time, they were talking about the council for environmental equality, found the average time to complete the environmental impact statement was four and a half years, which i felt was far too long.
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the president at that time said we could do it in two years. we made some reforms there, and i would like to have your opinion. do you think the improvements that were made during that time served to our advantage in reform? >> yes, i do. nepa is the most litigated environmental statute out there. it takes some time to complete these environmental reviews, but they are necessary before our infrastructure in the interstate pipeline can move forward and before firms will issue a certificate in order for it to operate. but many federal agencies are involved and i think that programs such as the one federal decision are just common sense to try and get the federal families to work together, cooperate, share information and work based upon a timeline.
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>> well, i agree with that and i think a lot of people are not aware that it is not just gas, it's the wind industry that also supported those reforms. i think most if not all suppliers benefited from those reforms. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator inhofe. we have a joining by webex, senator cardiff. if you are there, take it away. >> thank you very much. i have enjoyed the testimony of our witnesses. thank you for holding this hearing. i think it is critically important as we look at building back better, how do we have an electric red that meets the challenges we have two realities of climate change and can reduce carbon emissions? that needs to be our goal. i want to cover two points if i can, during my time.
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first, 20% of our total electricity is generated by nuclear power, but it is over 55% of the carbon free electric productions. as we are talking about building back better, we have a very old nuclear fleet. any specific suggestions as to the importance of at least maintaining our capacity for nuclear generated electricity, and how can we go about doing that? what type of additional federal policies are needed in order to be able to maintain our capacity for nuclear power? >> you are in the energy business, so -- >> i can't agree more. i can't think that we can afford to take two steps backwards by using our existing nuclear fleet. it is 55% of our carbon free
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energy. i am fortunate that i operate in a vertically integrated environment, so i can convince my regulators, hopefully, of the importance of nuclear. but when you are in a deregulated market and thing against pure price, the carbon free attributes are not always recognized. i think there are ways we can preserve the nuclear fleet with grass, i think there was a legislation proposed around that, or tax incentives. it's important that we look at that going forward. i also want to try to be technology agnostic, but i am a big fan of next-generation nuclear and things like small, modular reactors. >> let me go to my second subject, and that's the use of technology. we are behind technology. it was mentioned during this panel that the technology on battery storage -- we are not
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where we need to be. as we are looking at building back better, what type of incentives can we put into congressional action that will advance technology in america so that we can be the leader not only in developing the technology, but deploying the technology so we have a much more efficient system? we know certain sources of carbon free energy are difficult to store, but advancing these technologies could not only help us in a more modern capacity deal with the needs, but also do it in a more environmentally friendly way. what suggestions do you have an order to advance technologies such as battery storage? anyone on the panel who wishes to respond. >> thank you so much for the question. one of the things we're doing in los angeles is investing in transportation technology.
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the transportation measure at the local level, it is never sunsetting sales tax that will provide $120 billion in the next four years. bus companies in america, in california we are looking at [inaudible] i want to see what you saw in california, though he landed a rover on mars a couple weeks ago, we have folks who are ready to do this, working closely with the national renewable energy labs. it wasn't a political thing when we went to them, saying how do we get los angeles to 100% renewable without carbon spewing fuels, they did it as scientists. it is clear that investing more in those will help us compete globally. we are still buying our batteries abroad, and i think we need to be producing them. i think the transportation sector is a very robust place
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where infrastructure can double down and make sure the resources come from there. >> your points are well taken. i would encourage specific recommendations as to what we could include in an infrastructure bill that would help advance that type of investment here in america. we know what's happening globally. >> a national consortium to put a national institute together for change in transportation. dod and dot together would be a good place to put that, and i think people in the private sector, often abroad, but here in the united states we don't have that today. that would be a welcome part of the infrastructure package. >> thank you you, mr. chairman? >> after that, if she doesn't
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reclaim her time, sheldon whitehouse will be next in line by webex. senator, i think you are on. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you for this important hearing on this important topic. as you know, this is sort of in my wheelhouse. i spent nearly 10 years as a utility regulator, where we had not just regulation over the price regulation over utilities and the like, including xl energy, but integrated resource planning, siting of a lot of things, including transmission lines, pipelines, energy convergent facilities of all types, including thousands of megawatts of wind, but reliability was always at the forefront. i like to say we were doing resiliency before most people thought it was cool. but as you have said, this is largely a jurisdiction, and three years ago, there was a resiliency docket opened, and a
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few weeks ago they closed it with zero conclusions and zero recommendations. in light of the recent outages in california, texas and the upper midwest, the lack of action is an abject failure. to recognize the problem and provide answers to it, i want to submit a dissenting opinion, "the bottom line is this. as long as we have markets that procure the wrong types of generation in the wrong onto d's because the resources providing the greatest reliability benefits our insufficiently compensated, we will continue to see events like those in california and texas." i would highly recommend everybody to read it. without objection, i would like to submit it to the record. >> without objection. next mr. -- >> mr. faulk, i want to align myself with everything senator cardin said.
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the regulation overseeing all of that, we have to streamline it. there is no reason not to, so i associate myself with everything that he said. i want to take it back a little bit on something you said, that senator inhofe quoted, and that's when you said some type of nuclear and gas don't have to stand in the way. in fact, they are part of the solution. i would submit to you that there is not a better fuel in the world the nuclear for accomplishing the goals that you want to accomplish. i say that because it's not parochial to me. we don't have any nuclear in north dakota, xl has little generation at all in north dakota even though you are our largest utility, but we benefit tremendously from your nuclear plants in prairie island and monticello. i once got trapped there because my polyester pants put out too much radiation. [laughter] i will disassociate myself with
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what he asked then your answer, and thank you very much. but you also raised a question for me that gets to the point -- i don't mean it to be rude, but you know, we don't have polar vortexes in our part of the country, as you know, we have winter. they seem like vortexes to some people, but not where we live. xcel energy is not just an electric utility, but you are a gas utility in my state as well as others. one of the things i worry about in regards to natural gas, not just as a bridge, but as a substitute to good electricity, when we are confronted with a 40 degrees below zero day, which is not as uncommon as people might think, those are the days the wind rarely blows. you as a utility, if you are confronted with either heating your home with natural gas or curtailing it to generate electricity to keep your computer operating in your home, which do you choose?
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it seems like a ridiculous question, but it is meant to make a point. i would welcome a response. >> first off, ought -- even our wind turbines with winterization cannot work in -22. you always choose a rolling electrical blackout versus a gas out, because the difficulty of relighting homes safely is incredibly time-consuming, so doing the winter storm yuri, all of our fossil generation and nuclear generation works, but natural gas plants, we switched them to oil. we didn't use it very often, but we switched it to oil and were able to diver the natural gas that would have been used into the ldc for home heating. >> let me add in my final statement here, i don't want to
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leave anything off of the table as a solution. i am all about your ambitious goals and i don't think we can get to your ambitious goals by 2050, carbon free without some reforms to this permitting and siting process for building the infrastructure necessary. but i don't want to leave things out like carbon capture utilization and storage either. we are not that far away from having even fossil energy being largely, if not completely carbon free. i want to work with people on the solutions, not argue so much about the problems. >> i will ask for consent to submit to the record a report from the energy research and consulting firm mckinsey and other related articles. they describe the recent blackouts in texas were caused by failures across the entire energy system, natural gas and coal included, due to the lack of weatherization, lack of energy reserves, and the inability to draw on resources
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from the rest of the national grid. with that done, i think senator whitehouse is going to be recognized, thanks to the generosity of senator caputo. after her, senator padilla, senator ricker, and senator sohn . senator whitehouse, you are on by webex. >> good to be with you. thank you, ranking member capital, for letting me jump in here. to the last comment by senator cramer, i think carbon capture has a very important role in our climate solutions and ranking member capital, we have worked very well together on carbon capture solutions and are working right now to expand direct air capture credit, to help expand innovation into that space so it doesn't have to be
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so geographically limited. there's is probably not a lot in energy policy, senator cramer and i agree, but here we have overlap, so that is great. i want to as ms. snyder here -- tell ms. snyder here how disappointed i have been in the natural gas industry and how it conducted itself, is specifically in regards to methane leakage. we were working well with the industry in the previous administration. i think that the industry saw the cliff that coal and oil was headed for, and they had a longer runway and wanted to prepare for the transition in a responsible way and understood that its methane leakage was the biggest part of the problem. we had an agreement about measuring that leakage and all of that, and then came the trump administration and all of that got undone. we are now trying to rebuild, but i think a lot of things got burned in those years and one of
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them, i just have to say, was a lot of trust with the industry. i hope we have the chance to rebuild that. an interesting point was made that nuclear, i think nuclear is carbon free attributes are not always recognized, and that's a problem i have been trying to work with for some time. i couldn't agree more, we have been trying to figure out a way to get existing safely operating nuclear plants into a 40 q-type compensation for the nature of their power. they have been artificially completed successfully against natural gas facilities, and i would love to get your thoughts on that. if you would like to give me those thoughts at some greater length with some reflection, i would be happy to take a written question for the record that you can respond to, and i would also
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like you to think about what we can do to speed up major transmission lines to the areas in our country where there is abundant solar and wind. short story, i'd drove through the wind river reservation in wyoming, which is three times the size of my home state, and went through miles of what seemed like completely vacant space that the wind was screaming across and the sun was beating down on, and the two tribes who share that reservation are losing the snowpack that provides the summer water for them. it is basically their summer water storage. they are looking at trouble because of climate change, and it would be great to have industries like that pickup in that great big reservation, and yet it can't happen because there is no transmission lines. the solution to that in build back better is something i would welcome, and i would love to have your brief comments on those. >> on the nuclear side, as we
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hope to extend things like ptc, itc, we should also consider ptc to put it on a level playing ground. i think nuclear could compete with and even playing field. transmission, let me give you an example. we started our clean energy journey in the beginning of 2000's. we completed that transmission a few years ago, so it took 15 years. that's interregional. permitting, cost allocation, those are the things that are really bogged down. i think we have had some comments before on having a streamlined, things like nepa, etc., to make that easier. that is absolutely going to be necessary. >> we are going to try to do that and build back better. we will do a lot of building and
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was -- in a result of that bill. i can't see my clock, but -- >> you have 24 seconds, you should use it. >> another word about direct air capture, which is a great opportunity for us. >> alright, thank you. looking at the roster here, after senator whitehouse, we are back to senator caputo. >> i want to ask mr. wood my first question. we have talked a lot about individual generation and how we will meet the challenges, and one thing you have talked about is the diversity of energy sources, particularly as it relates to manufacturing. if we are looking to keep our manufacturing base, part of that build back better is bringing manufacturing jobs back into this country. do we need a diverse set of energy resources to power our
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domestic industries? can we do it all on renewables and are capital investments in manufacturing waste on the presumption that they get access to affordable and reliable electricity? >> thank you for the question. i think the answer is definitely no. we can't do it only on renewables until we have a solution for the intermittency. i can imagine what elon musk was thinking after he decided to move to texas and lo and behold, he lost electricity for a long period of time and now he is going to build a 100 megawatt storage facility outside of houston. i would like to ask him what he thinks about running a plant that uses electricity that can't get replaced because there is no replacement power that can connect with that part of texas. i don't think so. what i said before, which is a planning first process ought to
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take place. we understand where the large sources of renewables are, what kind of renewables they are, how far we want to transmit them and where we have sources of nonrenewable electricity that we can use, including gas to replace that. gas is a little bit better for this renewable intermittency because gas units can change loads fairly quickly, and when the wind stops, if you are not going to shut down the plants, you are going to have to change sources of energy very quickly. nuclear has a pretty good record in changing loads, but not as good as the gas plants. >> thank you, thank you again for being on the panel. we have heard a lot about the
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nepa process being 4.5 years. i mentioned in my opening statement that we can't build back better if we can't build, senator whitehouse talked about the transmission and the loss, the scarcity of transmissivity in certain areas. the timelines we are looking at for renewable and net zero emissions, 2035, can this -- this is a question for everybody. i know we have talked a lot about this, but unless we can get these things permitted in a much shorter timeframe in terms of transmission as pipelines and other things, i don't know how we can get to this aspirational goal of zero emissions in the power sector by 2035. we will start with our guest here, mr. roscoe, if you have any comments on that from your report. >> well, from previous work we
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know that the concerns about permitting are real. you have to deal with multiple agencies, it really helps if you have a lead agent the that coordinates and also helps if you have a pre-application period where everyone can be brought together, all the stakeholders. those are the things that work. some of the things that are out of the federal realm, when you get in a lawsuit, that sort of stops everything. i don't know what the federal government can do about that part. >> i will go to mayor garcetti on this one, because you mentioned at the end of your remarks, it's interesting. we have heard from the industry, we have heard from others, but you are a quite large municipality. i don't know how many times in my state you are, a lot, but from your perspective, the
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permitting issues, since you mentioned it, how does that impact you and your very large city? >> thank you, senator. absolutely. we have so many different regulatory authorities between the state and federal governments, and we have an infrastructure that goes through multiple states. whether rising critical systems -- weatherizing critical systems inc. strategic locations is important, and streamlining the permitting, so if it is important it can be convened. that would be a very positive thing and i think all americans could rally around it. particularly the resilience and diversity that we need and the investment we need to have. >> thank you. >> thank you. i think senator markey might be next, and he is right here in person. senator? >> thank you, mr. chairman, very
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much. the clean energy standard, it is going to be absolutely essential to make sure we create the right metrics, to guarantee we meet the high standards that are going to be necessary in order to match the magnitude of the problem. as you already said, mr. chairman, one in three americans already lived in a city or state that has a 100% clean electricity standard. it has been made a part of their state or city of mandates, so we have a real chance here -- actually, 12 years ago, we were able to pass a clean energy standard in the house. it was blocked in the senate after it was passed in the house, but cities and towns have stepped up, as you said, and they have put their clean energy standards up. do you believe a clean energy standard can bring the business
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necessary to provide reliable and affordable power to customers, while at the same time encouraging clean energy innovation? >> i do. i think a well-designed clean energy standard is the right approach to climate policy. clearly, details matter, but if we can design one that does recognize the need for natural gas as a bridge fuel and the value of carbon free neutral, if we have guardrails on reliability, cost and time frames that are pragmatic, combine that with more funding for those technologies that get that last bit of carbon off the grid. i think it's the right way to go. xl has supported some of the proposed legislation out there and i don't think my industry is far behind in general in supporting that approach. >> thank you.
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again, the obama administration propounded, put in place a clean power standard which was going to be a 32% reduction in greenhouse gases by the year 2030. even though the trump administration took that standard off the books, the utility industry has already met that standard here in 2021 that was the obama standard in 2030. he can see that there is no small momentum in this clean energy sector, but it is important for us to ensure that again, we set the standards high and that the industry knows exactly what they are going to have to do to meet those standards. mayor garcetti, one of the questions which is constantly asked is, can renewables be reliable? can you create a grid that is reliable? i know for example iowa is the fourth or fifth most reliable grid, and they have 42% of their electric generation coming from wind. tell us the story, if you would,
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of l.a. in your goals for renewables and energy efficiency, and the reliability you are simultaneously building into the system. >> absolutely. senator markey, it was good to see you in los angeles. one of three americans live in a city or state with a 100% target, so it is time to make that law. in los angeles, yes, not only do we have greener power, cheaper power and more reliable power, but the average american has about two hours of power that's out in the los angeles area, which is 15% less then other states. west virginia, it's eight hours on average. we have a reliable standard, reliable network, and that diversity comes from careful engineering. we have distributed solar in our basin, which is much more reliable, but when transmission
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lines cut off for any reason, --. our renewables are diverse and we have been able to keep that reliability. we are cheaper than our peer utilities in the area. by the way, our bills, when we say cheaper, if we were estate, we would be the 10th cheapest of all of the states, so we are in the top quintile in terms of what people actually pay of their electricity bills and enjoy a greater reliability than many other areas. >> can i ask about your national climate bank? is that something that could be used to finance for clean energy and sustainable projects. it has passed the house of representatives a number of times in the past couple of years. senator van hollen and i have an identical bill here in the
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senate. what is your view of a national climate bank? >> i am a strong proponent of it . we sometimes in cities like mine, have a large amount of capital we can attract, but a lot of places don't and we can accelerate what we are doing in los angeles with this. that would be exactly what we need to not only bring resources forward, but to have the sort of innovation. i would be scared to take that jump forward. every time we set the renewable standard in our state it is going to spike, but when we have hit it, we hit it early. this is something we can get to in rural areas, smaller cities, smaller grids as well as larger places like los angeles. >> thank you for your leadership. l.a. is the model that the most of the country needs >> thank you for the answers. i would ask unanimous consent to
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submit information that is not a cause of federal infrastructure project delays. i would ask unanimous consent of the record three letters, one from state attorneys general, and one from state and water well organizations opposing the epa proposals to weaken regulations under the clean water act. it would reflect serious harm to the states and federal authorities established by congress. without objection. looking at the lineup ahead, senator markey, and it was like senator markey, and senator bozeman. senator lummis, senator markey, senator markey and senator boseman in that order.
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senator lummis:: would it be ok if i allowed senator sullivan to go ahead of me? he has been waiting sometime. chairman carper: it would not be alright. i object to that. [laughter] chairman carper: navy and marine corps. [laughter] very kind of you to do that. senator sullivan, you are on. sen. sullivan: thank you, mr. chairman. we all have a lot of hearings to go to, so thanks very much. like senator markey, i am and all of the above energy express myself -- energy advocate myself. but one of the elements that seems out of the mix is natural gas. i want to talk a bit about natural gas and this is important because the united states reduced greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 2017 by almost 15%, more than any major economy in the world by fire.
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the main reason we did that was because of natural gas. yet seem to be losing the power of that -- good jobs, clean energy, reliable energy, in the mix with renewables and others. it is important to recognize -- couple of quotes i will give from people who until recently, worked for natural gas in mexico, united states and canada -- that will be the epicenter for the 21st century in part because of our abundance of natural gas. who said that? 2016 vice president joe biden. " we need an energy strategy for the future, an all of the above energy strategy for the 21st-century, including natural gas." who said that? barack obama. how about this one?
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responsible development of natural gas is an important part of the work to curb climate change and support a robust energy market at home. . that? mr. mccarthy. we have good sources in the past. recently mr. biden said i am, quote, "all-in natural gas? he said that with union leaders. we got the president of the united states for natural gas, the president of the world said he is against it, john kerry. -- let me just go down the list here. mr. snyder, do you think natural gas should be part of the mix, like gina mccarthy did?
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>> absolutely. natural gas is foundational to our -- and it is -- to climate change. >> i think emissions from our compressor stations went down by 31%, so we are making. strides to drive down -- we are making great strides to drive down -- [inaudible]
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-- in our particular sector. we recently went further in january of this year and committed to working together as an industry to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from the interstate natural gas system. we think it is important to expand the availability of natural gas to complement the growth of renewable fuels and also deliver lower carbon fuels. sen. sullivan: thank you. u.s. president joe biden is all in on natural gas. john kerry, a guess, is against his boss. >> in west virginia, we moved over an ocean of natural gas. i am all in on it, and i think we know what hasn't been mentioned yet, natural gas has only got about half the amount of carbon in it that coal does.
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sen. sullivan: and for my final three witnesses, as part of the build back better infrastructure, i think natural gas should be a key part of it. mr. mayor, mr. fowke, are you all in on natural gas or are you with john kerry, who evidently is against it and hasn't explained why? >> natural gas has been growing, in large part because it has been cheaper than coal. it has been displacing coal and nuclear. it is definitely growing and it is an important part. sen. sullivan: mr. mayor? mayor garcetti: it is not a question of if and when we will get off natural gas. it is to look at whether we can go renewable without spending on natural gas and it shows that you can. sen. sullivan: so are you all in with the president? mayor garcetti: a think all of us will get to a place where we move beyond natural gas. it is just a matter of how much time.
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turbines can run on things like hydrogen, you can have a mix of natural gas as the transition occurs. i think that will get us to zero emissions. >> we need natural gas. you cannot run a grid today on 100% renewables. i am not talking about an individual business or municipality or -- the big grid we are all connected to needs natural gas? sen. sullivan: the mayor was neutral, so we will call it 4-1, all in on natural gas. chairman carper: senator lummis, back to you. sen. lummis:: my first question is to mr. wood. an act was signed into law to support carbon utilization, an important
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research area going on right now in the permian basis, directly capturing carbon out of the air. are there other things our committee and congress should be doing to support carbon capture utilization and sequestration technology? mr. wood: one of the limitations right now is cost. it costs about $50 a ton to remove carbon dioxide from an operating coal power plant. so we need some research into technologies that can drop that. there are research activities taking place right now, but more money and research into reducing the cost. second thing is transmission. we in west virginia don't have a lot of places that you can inject natural gas in the surface, so we have to transmit it to other places. that means pipelines, that means permits.
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those few areas, i think, are areas that the government can help a lot in developing the transmission and capture of co2. sen. lummis: thanks, mr. wood. you just segued into my next question. mayor garcetti said in his written testimony, quote, "we must streamline processes through environmental review." i could not agree more. that is an important observation and it is something government can do. ms. snyder, can you speak to the complicated process of propagating authorizations and permits from multiple federal agencies as well as state and local governments? ms. snyder: it is a long and arduous process for our interstate pipelines, a multiyear process, in fact. in order to construction
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interstate pipeline, you have to conduct an environmental review first and foremost, something typically conducted by --. many federal agencies are involved including the army corps of engineers, fish and wildlife service, and others. there are other factors such as -- involved in looking at the impact of water quality. some of our members have had issues in the past where certain states are not listening to the explicit direction that congress gave them an acting within invisible period of time not to exceed one year. so we need to make sure everyone is acting in a timely fashion, streamlined, not duplicating effort, trying to ensure that these things are happening in a
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timely manner. it is very important for our industry in particular, because our projects are completely funded by private capital? sen. lummis: switching gears just a little bit, how does natural gas infrastructure support element of renewable energy? ms. snyder: natural gas infrastructure is foundational. it really compliments it quite well, because it is extremely reliable. as we looked at data from a 10 year period, our members were able to affirm contract commitments 99.9% of the time. natural gas can be available for renewable energy sources at times when they are not available. sen. lummis: mr. sherman, thank you. i yield back. chairman carper: thanks. is senator markley by webex, dan
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snyder bozeman, then senator padilla. sen. merkley: -- lost power as a result of climate-intensified extreme weather. last summer we had a lot of folks who lost power when essentially the wind knocked down power lines which created fires and the fires were driven by the windstorms. we had a number of towns in oregon that burned to the ground. you couldn't imagine -- i traveled 600 miles north and south of oregon and never got out of the smoke. it looked like armageddon. entire towns disappeared,
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nothing better bit of plumbing. it was not something i expected to witness. so the towns are very interested in how they harden their electric infrastructure. today i introduced an act in partnership with senator wyden. it provides a matching grant program to subsidize utilities to some of the hardening of electrical infrastructure in places that are high-cost. that includes moving wires underground in areas prone to high winds and locking them down. this would -- i would ask mr. rusco, and mr. garcetti whether having a matching grant program might helpful. california has certainly suffered from the same effects.
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>> yes, i think so. there is no question that the cost of making an electricity grid more resilient is going to be costly. it is also going to require a whole of government, a whole of society effort to make the right decisions and to do it the right way. mayor garcetti yes, senator. we embrace that. sen. merkley: great, thank you. mr. garcetti, los angeles has benefited from solar programs. have you had any assistance from public utilities that don't really love the idea of renewable electricity? if you have had that resistance, how did you overcome it mayor
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? mayor garcetti: we oversee it, so they embraced it. we almost lost transmission lines. we came within an inch of some rolling blackouts. it was distributed solar. we have been the number one solar city in america for the last seven years. it is complex, you have to wire the city and you have to store it. having an in-basin --, putting it on rooftops has been a great thing for our economy. sen. merkley: should a program to do -- copy the l.a. program for building a lot more rooftop solar across america, we think it would help expand renewable energy infrastructure? mayor garcetti: no question. these are jobs that produce a lot of work.
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they are relatively lower scale, but they are a great entrance into the jobs and they bring a lot of money. we would welcome the infrastructure bill. . we would put our community colleges to work training those folks. it is really not what people think. it is veterans, it is republicans, it is people who see the power of solar to be able to have our own destiny in our own hands. it is cheaper now than fossil fuel plants? sen. merkley: one way to address the demand-supply balance is the ability to pull energy from other regions and balance things out. you mentioned storage. what is the primary use of energy storage? mayor garcetti: one is our mountain plant, natural gas with a hydrogen mixed.
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we have 10 different equivalent to empire state buildings cavities inside the plant where we can store hydrogen. when you think water storage, you think of the hoover dam. we can use that as a water battery, essentially. and then the more natural batteries. we are building a plant right now that is enough to have power for three days for 286,000 households? sen. merkley: do you have to make adjustments, have people had to turn down their air conditioners a degree or two? mayor garcetti: not yet. but an infrastructure bill could really help us here. we would install smart meters. it would create hundreds of jobs for americans out of work right now. it would be a great way to have an energy corps throughout the united states? sen. merkley: xcel energy has
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been quite interested in more modular reactors. there was a company started in oregon overseeing this. are you interested in are you heading toward natural -- financing of a small, nuclear operation? >> no, senator. i think that technology needs to continue to be developed and then deployed and then we potentially would be interested. we need to work with our state regulators. but right now we definitely need to preserve our existing --? sen. merkley: they had low cost for solar and wind. i think solar and wind. requesting storage as part of
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the -- is that project you are putting out there, the construction, did it turn out to be as expensive as it -- from the date it was submitted. chairman carper: senator markley, you are admitted and have over your time. could we have the questions answered for the record, please? we could get to the rest of the folks who haven't had a chance to ask any questions. sen. merkley: thank you. chairman carper: thank you. thank you so much. so that her are you there? sen. boozman: yes, i am here. sen. boozman: thank you, chairman carper, for having this hearing. i think we have a really good panel getting really good information. ms. snyder, though income families and communities spend a larger share of their budget on energy costs compared to middle income families.
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i especially see this in rural america, probably 50% of the counties in arkansas will lose population as a result of this. again, in my opinion, when you look at environmental regulations that decrease energy cost significantly, and you are talking about a regressive tax, do you think increased energy costs have a disproportionate impact of low income families, particularly at impact on rural america that does so much traveling for every basic necessity? ms. snyder: i think affordability of our energy system is extremely important for lower-income communities, and also the rural communities, as well as small businesses. we need to keep in mind that about one third of the
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generation of electricity in the country is from natural gas. natural gas has been helping keep our energy very affordable, and i think this is something we have to think about as we move forward and look to advance america towards a clean-energy future, is having it be affordable. sen. merkley: very good. thank you. -- sen. boozman: very good, thank you. do you think congress and the administration should increase federal investment in infrastructure, that is something we would be proud of. unfortunately, such investment is sometimes through a duplicative and complex permitting process.
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previous administrations, both republican and democrat, have made changes to the process to increase efficiency without lessening environmental protections, and example would be the rebuilding of the bridge in minnesota, that was done in a year. normally it would take 10 to 15 years. would you agree that project which are drawn out due to regulatory burdens have a hand in making infrastructure projects more expensive, and why is a quicker permitting process a good thing for smaller and rural states like arkansas? ms. snyder: yes, i think it is very important to have an efficient environmental review and permitting process. this is not about trying to shortchange the review that is undergoing, it is just trying to make sure that agencies are working together and collaborating, sharing information, avoiding duplication of effort, and also sticking to a timeline.
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this is very important to those rural communities and the more disadvantaged communities, so that they can get the infrastructure they need. we think it is very important to expand availability of natural gas throughout the country so people have affordable energy. sen. boozman: very good. i agree totally. not cutting corners, but stick into a timeline. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for the panel -- thank you to the panel for a very good discussion. chairman carper: thank you for your questions. we have two new members of our committee. senator padilla and senator kelly. sen. cassidy: thank you, mr. chairman -- sen. kelly: thank you, mr. chairman. star roscoe, your testimony, you
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stated that drought can overwhelm clean energy. in last year's heat wave in california, electricity destined for arizona customers was called upon to help keep the california from completely crashing -- california grid from completely crashing. do you think you are prepared for a scenario where water levels get so little in the colorado river that hydropower would not be able to sustain california, arizona or other western states during extreme and prolonged heat waves? sen. kelly: i think do we and ferc have work to do on this for sure. ferc have come to no conclusions, but they are opening a new docket in light of the recent events in texas.
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they really do need to understand that the system will be stressed going forward, and they will have to figure out how to regulate and improve that. senator kelly: how important are hydropower and nuclear in situations where the electrical grade needs an external power source to recover from the total shutdown? mr. roscoe: definitely, hydropower is probably the best source for quick return to power. so if the whole system goes down , you will need to restart it. you will need something that can turn on and hydropower plays that role. you will need pretty much all sources to keep it up. . sen. kelly: thank you. mayor garcetti -- good to see
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you, mayor. mayor garcetti: good to see you, too. sen. kelly: for many low-income families, keeping the air-conditioning on during a heat wave is a problem. the federal government offers an assistance program, but that program was originally designed to help non-western communities save on oil heating costs in the winter. would you agree that climate change has put us on the path where funding for the program may need to be realigned for disadvantaged communities in the south and west due to extreme heat and drought? mayor garcetti: i very much would, senator. my dad's family comes from arizona, in phoenix, they emigrated from mexico. we know it is like.
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this year was the hardest of the last -- was the hardest of the last hundred and will be the coolest of the next hundred. so we need a high renewable efficiency standard for low income tax credit. we should also look at existing programs that can be extended for our low income families and also incentivize businesses to support fossil fuel-free appliances. these things will help us with the climate change issue we find ourselves in, but help keep bills low and contribute to cooler homes. sen. kelly: and a follow-up, just a quick comment on senator markey's question about being able to control thermostats from the power company, that is something we have now in arizona and i think it had been used in a number of occasions when it was both extremely hot in
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arizona, but also in california, when we often have to get additional help in the summer months. it has been a success in arizona and hopefully it will be something that will be used more in other western states. thank you and i yield back. chairman carper: senator kelly, thank you so much. senator padilla. senator is happy to yield to you for your questions. thank you for bringing the mayor of california with you. sen. padilla: absolutely. he said any time. [laughter] one of the challenges of -- of seniority is thinking of what else you can offer that has not been raised already. we have covered a lot of important and timely issues as relates to the build back better , the theme of this hearing.
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i agree that it is time to build back better, but not just build back, but build back smarter, cleaner, more sustainably. there is a lot of big issues. i will just share some thoughts and i hope for a response from mayor garcetti and the other witnesses. i think we agree on a bipartisan basis that we need to -- there are a lot of maintenance issues when it comes to infrastructure across america. several members of the committee have touched on the need to be mindful of reliability of our electrical sector as we are building back and build back better. for those of us, especially those of us that have served at a municipal level or even at the state level, are even more aware that we need to avoid great shock. costs over time go up, whether it is infrastructure, fuel, etc.. it impacts both residential and
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commercial. also an important concern to include in our deliberations. and we have additional challenges that are absolutely undeniable challenges -- posed by climate change whether you call it climate change or the concern about adaptation, or any other term. they are real. and consideration for resiliency separate and apart from the reliability questions and concerns that have been raised. there is a lot of policy considerations at once, as we will be working together to further define what build back better means. we need to address resiliency given extreme weather that is impacting every region of the country in different ways, let alone natural gas resiliency. sometimes they are related and sometimes not related at all to changing climate.
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again, being mindful of the impacts of rates versus bills. california, for example, may have higher rates, but the energy bills arriving every month for customers to pay still remain in the lower half of the nation's energy bills. we will be working together and i would invite us all to consider the impact of some of the policies that may not have been in the subject matter today but do relate to our planning and investment in the trade, in the industries, in the resource plan. so we do talk about our plans and generation, multiple sources -- is it cold, is it natural gas? california has shown you can do that aggressively atlas v did
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not follow. we will be talking about transmission and distribution of infrastructure as part of the build back better plan. we want to make sure there is consideration about smart grid deployment plan. every utility in california is required to have a smart grid deployment plan, and actual comprehensive smart grid. another piece and would like to raise for consideration is the topic of energy efficiency. it is important to in an integrated resource plan that helps address demand-side management. it should be considered as one of the most cost-effective measures when it comes to supply-chain management and achieving important emission reductions. i would love to hear from the witnesses in a comment or feedback on those elements in addition to job creation opportunities and energy efficiency, whether it is energy
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audits in the residential, commercial, even industrial sector, retrofitting of facilities, etc. that is my best effort, mr. chairman, to add something of additional value for consideration in today's hearing. i would like to have the witnesses respond however they might. chairman carper: the vote has started on the senate floor. we are about 10 minutes into that boat. i would like to ask if you're ok with this, if the witnesses would like to respond for the record so we can go to the capitol and wrap it up. but if one witness. sen. padilla: mayor garcetti, if he chooses. mayor garcetti: absolutely, senator padilla, thank you. about jobs, i would just say, we did a report, not written by my level of government, but
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yours. it shows we can do this. it was something that brought everybody here together, think about the transportation we went in america and not another country, the manufacturing went in america and not someplace else. to your point, it is not just what we build, it is also what we don't build. that saves energy. it saves our planet. we have a tan alarm fire going on, and it is called a climate emergency. it is not a matter of if we transition, but when. let's show america that we can do it quick, well, safely and reliably and we can do it in our lifetimes we can leave something better for our children behind. thank you so much. chairman carper: senator padilla, thank you so much. sen. capito: i want to thank the chairman and the witnesses. as i refer back to my opening
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statement, there is a thread that has gone through this, a lot of different themes, but certainly, the reliability and affordability issue is important as we look towards the future. thank you, mr. chairman. chairman carper: thank you. to our staffs, thank you for helping us put together a terrific panel and making possible this next question. a couple of quick questions i will ask, brief responses first. mr. roscoe, does the gao have a view of weather permitting of our nations infrastructure have contributed to climate change? mr. rasco: in general, no, the do not. there was a recommendation back in 2013 that said nipa should include climate risks as part of
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its consideration. but that is certainly not the case. chairman carper: mayor garcetti, with respect to clean energy targets, mayor and mr. fowke both discussed ambitious clean energy targets with your respective cities and company. the last 15 to 20% of the missions will be more difficult to reduce based on today's technology. would you both agree that we have the technology available in this country to generate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across the electric sector in the next decade? if this country implemented the red federal incentives, and investment of regulatory infrastructure? you agree to that, yes or no? >> yes.
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>> it will be more difficult for the country, quite frankly. chairman carper: will international clean energy standard drive the innovation of clean energy? >> yes, it would. chairman carper: in wrapping up, i love to rip up a -- to wrap up a discussion agnes by asking the excellent panel to share with us in closing what you heard today that mistreats the agreement of views that you have shared with us, an agreement on the actions the federal government should take to support a clean and resilient energy and electricity sector in this country? i will just say, one of my colleagues, sits to my left here in this committee, he says i am the most persistently optimistic person that he knows.
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my wife thinks i am too optimistic and i ought to be more realistic. but i am too old to change. almost every day of my life i say the words of einstein. when i was a naval flight officer, very unpopular war in southeast asia -- john kerry and a bunch of my colleagues in the house of representatives normalized relations with vietnam. i got elected. we had no pension system and we were just dog meat when it came to running our company and our finances. we ended up with a aaa credit rating. in adversity lies opportunity. we do face huge adversity with respect to extreme weather and
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extreme weather events. but there is opportunity here as well. i want each of you to take no more than 30 seconds to state something you heard today that you think demonstrates areas of agreement for this panel and most of those we serve to support a clean and resilient energy sector in this country. -- hold -- ok. mayor,? first, please. mayor garcetti: thank you so much. first i would say, what an honor it is to be with all my fellow panelists. a clean energy transition, is
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not a matter of if, but when. be there when we need you, but get out of the way when we don't. get us to build things quicker. third, renewables are diverse. it doesn't mean that is just a good way of getting in the way of the way we have done things before. reduce consumption. thanks again for the honor. chairman carper: mayor, thank you so much. frank roscoe, please give us a wrap-up fart, please. mr. fowke:. >> i agree that to be able to build back better, we have to be able to build. there is room to improve the federal permitting process and streamline it. there have been steps taken in the last two administrations to do so, and i hope we continue that effort to get agencies to work together and efficiently so
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that we can actually get the important infrastructure built to make our system resilient. chairman carper: ben fowke. mr. fowke: i think there is a lot of consensus that we can achieve remarkable carbon reductions. it will vary region to region and by geography, but we can do a lot. my hope is that we don't have -- enemy of the good. we are going to need to preserve natural gas. we will need to keep our eye on the prize which is carbon reduction in the most affordable and reliable way possible. our products stays affordable, we can electrify things like transport. chairman carper: ms. snyder? ms. snyder: i would say that we are all agreeing here today that energy policy changes are necessary and that includes ensuring that we have permitting predictability as well as
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consistency in our regulations so that we can build back better. secondly, i would that we are all in agreement that there will be a need for new, innovative technology and having federal support and funding to progress those technologies will be critical. third, am excited that we all seem to be saying that natural gas is key to complementing the growth of renewable and ensuring reliability. chairman carper: thank you so much. i will come back to you with another question for the record that relates to natural gas in the building of coal-fired plants in other places around the world to, provide electricity in places like china and india and see what opportunities there are. mr. wood, please. mr. wood: i agree with ms. snyder. affordability, liability, reduction of carbon are a consensus here.
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we also have an example of a state that has done a lot of good and something we can use as a model. chairman carper: mr. ward, i was distracted for a moment. please repeat what you said again, i apologize. mr. wood: i agree with ms. snyder on her comments, and i think we agree as a panel on the need for affordability, diversity of source, real reliability. we haven't mentioned it often, but i think we are to keep cybersecurity in mind, and a reduction of carbon. chairman carper: all right, thank you. i.s. -- president at west virginia university? mr. wood: yes, he is. when you see him, would you tell him that it west virginia native sends his best? mr. wood: i hope he is watching.
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chairman carper: and we hope may be to put together a symposium with the help of the folks at the aspen institute to come to west virginia in late spring and focus, make sure that we don't leave folks behind whose jobs have disappeared or are disappearing. we look forward to being with you then. i have what looks like a catchall. consent to place all materials into the. and i ask unanimous consent to submit into the record a number of items focused on the need for greenhouse gas reductions in the energy sector. please bear with me. in closing, i want to thank our witnesses. this has been an extraordinary panel and a wonderful time of sharing. hopefully creates more consensus. our panel has concluded.
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the leader of one of our largest cities, in nonpartisan expert in industry -- and industry stakeholders each sharing. after the hearing from all of you, what strikes me the most is not the challenges, but really the opportunities. the opportunity to put our nation on the path to a safe future, the opportunity to create millions of good paying jobs, the opportunity to build a stronger economy, the opportunity to clean our air and protect the environment for our children and our grandchildren. it is the job of those of us in the federal government to come together and make those opportunities a reality for the american people. again, i want to thank our witnesses for taking part in that process. i want to thank everybody who has joined us and been a part of this hearing.
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terrific. i want to thank our staff for putting together a great group of witnesses. senators will be allowed to submit questions for the record through close of business on march 24. they will compile the questions and send them to our witnesses. i ask all the witnesses reply to us by april 7. with that, this hearing is adjourned. god bless. [gavel bangs] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy, visit]
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