Department of Energy

Deputy Secretary Brouillette: IEA "Big IdEAs" Speaker Series

July 11, 2019

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Remarks As Prepared for Deputy Secretary Brouillette

Thank you for that kind introduction, and to the International Energy Agency and Dr. Birol for hosting these important and productive conversations.

It’s a pleasure to be here today, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share with you more about the Department of Energy’s work on an issue so crucial to the future success and security of global energy. Infrastructure isn’t a glamorous issue, but it’s a fundamental one.

Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the timing of this event and the nature of the U.S.-French relationship.

Just last week, I spent the Fourth of July in my nation’s capital, surrounded by my family. It is during moments like these when I am so thankful for the freedoms my children enjoy. Now it is my privilege to share a few thoughts with you in this time leading up to Bastille Day.

Indeed, throughout history, from the influence of French Enlightenment thinkers on the American Founding Fathers, through the American Revolution and French Revolution, to the beaches of Normandy and beyond, the common thread that binds our two great nations is the cause of liberty.

We talk a lot about the way energy has the ability to revolutionize a country’s security, economy, and sovereignty. And, I am proud to serve my nation as we drive energy innovation to unleash the freedom afforded by abundant and secure energy in our modern world.

In the United States, our energy renaissance over the last decade has been nothing short of a game-changer – a job creator through a recession, a boon to consumers’ pocket books, and a geopolitical asset. We can now support our friends and allies by providing a reliable source of energy, the lifeblood of every economy.

But without infrastructure, the potential of true energy security is unrealized.

Around the world, global energy is undergoing seismic change thanks to evolving demographics, fluctuating economies, climate patterns, and technological breakthroughs.

These transformations are shifting how we approach energy – how we acquire it, and how we use it.

As energy evolves, so too does our demand for the infrastructure necessary to transport and deliver that energy. Simply put, our changing energy landscape will result in trillions of dollars of new infrastructure investment.

Like other forms of infrastructure, America’s energy infrastructure is a key driver of employment, growth, and competitiveness throughout the economy.

Maintaining a modern, flexible, and secure network of electric power transmission and distribution lines, oil and natural gas pipelines, and storage facilities is essential to keeping energy accessible and affordable for businesses and consumers…to promoting growth across all sectors…and to supporting the continued health of the country’s domestic energy industry.

Since taking office, President Trump has prioritized ensuring our infrastructure keeps pace with our energy abundance.

He is approving new pipelines, removing burdensome oil and gas restrictions on reasonable exploration, and supporting clean coal technologies.

He is reinvigorating nuclear energy, while supporting R&D efforts on behalf of renewables, storage, and energy efficiency.

What this means is that – perhaps for the first time – the United States is finally embracing a true “all of the above” energy policy…one that doesn’t pick winners and losers, but instead opens the door to new opportunity and innovation.

The Department of Energy has a distinct and important role to play in supporting this agenda, and we, along with our partner agencies, work diligently to provide policymakers and other stakeholders with the necessary resources and technical tools to build secure and resilient energy systems.

We are committed to supporting other nations in charting their own energy futures, with the goal of achieving real energy security.

Doing so is critical to advancing the global economy, improving the quality of life for all people, and pursuing opportunity and prosperity.

That means we support and encourage the infrastructure investment of our friends and allies…

…Because when global energy markets are supplied with a diversity of energy sources, supplies, and routes, we all become more secure and less dependent on bad actors who seek to use energy dependence for geopolitical leverage.

And with energy security comes economic growth and greater national security.

We take seriously our role as a country with great natural resource wealth to serve as a “good actor” on the world stage.

With that comes a commitment to strengthening our ties to our friends abroad through energy trade, and ensuring the further development of export infrastructure.

DOE has streamlined the government’s approach to LNG export approvals, bolstering the United States’ evolution into a major global supplier of LNG and a net exporter of natural gas.

Even more, the Trump administration is taking action to further increase permitting efficiency.

In April, President Trump issued an Executive Order to promote energy infrastructure and economic growth. It established the policy of the United States – to promote private investment in our energy infrastructure by providing greater efficiency, regulatory certainty, effective stewardship of natural resources, and timely action.

Based on current projections, the U.S. is expected to become a net energy exporter next year…for the first time in nearly 70 years.

By the end of this year, U.S. LNG export capacity is expected to have grown by an astonishing 150 percent from 2018 – possibly reaching 11 billion cubic feet per day of export capacity.

But we are not going to rest on our laurels. We are looking beyond today’s infrastructure. DOE is supportive of industry investment into what is quickly becoming a global “petrochemical hub” in the United States’ Appalachian region.

In fact, if the states encompassing the Appalachian Mountain region of the U.S. were an independent country, it would be the third largest natural gas producer in the world.

That region alone is expected to produce 40 percent of America’s natural gas supply by 2040.

It also produces gas that is particularly “wet” – meaning it contains substantial volumes of ethane – and by 2025, ethane production in the Appalachian Basin is expected to reach 640,000 barrels per day… 20 times greater than the region’s production in 2013.

A new ethane cracker plant is already under construction in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, while another is under consideration in Ohio… and that’s just the beginning.

This petrochemical production is not only a boon to our own manufacturing industry, but will go a long way towards meeting global demand for these products… in turn supporting the burgeoning manufacturing industries in other nations that are crucial to economic progress and the movement of more people out of poverty and into the middle class.

As we seek joint success in achieving energy security over the coming decades, it will be underpinned by innovation. Innovation will allow us to produce cleaner and more abundant, affordable, and diverse forms of energy.

In the realm of nuclear, in 2017 the President announced a review of U.S. nuclear to revive and revitalize the American nuclear industry. At DOE, we are taking his challenge seriously and thinking big…and small.

We are supporting the R&D of advanced reactors, including small modular reactors, or SMRs, and micro-reactors, which will be more reliable, safe, easily transportable, and highly efficient systems that can operate for 10 years or more without refueling.

We are on a path to construct the Versatile Advanced Test Reactor, a facility that would enable development and testing of advanced fuels and materials for the next generation of commercial nuclear reactors.

We are committed to the role of nuclear in a clean, safe, and secure energy future for the United States…and collaborating with our allies abroad looking to expand nuclear energy in their own energy portfolios.

Another critical mission for DOE is ensuring the resilience of our electric grid and successfully countering the ever-evolving and increasing threat of physical and cyber-attacks on networks, data, facilities, and infrastructure.

We have established the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) to make our electric power grid and other energy infrastructure more resilient to these threats.

DOE recently announced an $8 million investment in innovations that will enhance the reliability and resiliency of our nation’s energy infrastructure. This R&D partnership opportunity will spur the development of the next generation of tools and technology that will become widely adopted throughout the energy sector.

As we protect our infrastructure from cyber threats, we are also working to improve the complete resilience of our electricity systems.

Our Office of Electricity also supports transmission system resilience and generation diversity, and is exploring new architecture approaches for the electric grid. This includes the development of the North American Energy Resilience Model that will provide unique and ground-breaking national-scale energy planning and real-time situational awareness capabilities to enhance security and resilience.

A large component of DOE’s work is pursuing cutting-edge innovation in big data, A.I., and grid-scale energy storage based on new technology.

Grid-scale storage will be an important enabler for renewable integration and for clean baseload power. While today’s technologies are already providing value to the grid, there are physical limitations to traditional batteries that will be surpassed by next-generation technologies.

Efforts in grid-scale energy storage are already producing important advancements. Grid-scale energy storage technologies have been demonstrated using a new generation of advanced flow batteries, which rely on lower cost electrolytes that have already achieved $275 per kilowatt-hour for a four-hour system.

We are also continuing to advance energy storage through our Advanced Energy Storage Initiative, which includes development of a new Grid Storage Launchpad aimed at accelerating materials development, testing, and independent evaluation of battery technologies for grid applications.

In addition, the R&D at DOE’s National Laboratories supports the development of technologies that strengthen and improve energy infrastructure so that consumers have access to reliable and secure sources of energy.

Another program driving enabling technologies is DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative, which focuses on integrating an increasing amount of variable generation into the grid through R&D infrastructure investments at our National Labs. One noteworthy GMI effort will accelerate the conversion of the National Wind Technology Center campus into an experimental micro-grid capable of testing grid integration at the megawatt scale.

These are just some of the examples of how the United States is approaching its commitment to updating and improving its energy infrastructure and environmental responsibility within its own borders…but these same issues are also at the heart of so many of our partnerships and work abroad.

We vehemently believe that a strong and vibrant Trans-Atlantic relationship is crucial for the United States, and that our collective energy security is critical to the national security and sovereignty of both the U.S. and the EU.

An energy-secure Europe is a stronger partner for the United States as we address global challenges, and we support the European Union’s efforts to strengthen its energy security and invest in new infrastructure that will open up market access, accelerate trade, and diversify sources of energy and power.

We are particularly encouraged by many countries’ decisions to reduce their dependence on a single supplier of energy. These nations have diversified their energy supply, sources of supply, and supply routes – and in many cases by agreeing to purchase U.S. LNG.

Germany, for instance, has agreed to purchase LNG from the United States and to finance and construct two new LNG import terminals.

Poland, too, is expanding its LNG terminal…and increasing LNG imports from other nations, including the U.S.

In total, 36 countries are receiving American LNG – 18 of which have been added since President Trump took office, including our host country France.

Secretary Perry and I are extremely proud of the work of the Three Seas Initiative on this front, which serves as a fundamental platform for engagement between the U.S., the EU, and other countries in Central and Southeastern Europe.

Its goal to create a north-south corridor in energy, telecommunications, and infrastructure will prove a powerful step towards a safer, stronger, and more prosperous world for us all…and for generations to come.

In keeping with the goals of the Three Seas, last year, Secretary Perry announced the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy Cooperation, or P-TEC.

Through P-TEC, we aim to work across the Three Seas region to increase energy security…promote energy development and diversity…modernize power grids…bolster the resiliency of energy systems…help detect and thwart cyberattacks…develop emergency response plans…and promote open, competitive and transparent markets.

Its mission is to catalyze investment and expertise from the U.S. to advance EU goals.

For example, the European Commission advocates for the need to eliminate energy islands and reduce single-supplier dependence in much of Central and Southeastern Europe.

These “Projects of Common Interest” play an important role in incentivizing new natural gas and electricity infrastructure.

Looking ahead, we envision DOE will continue to work with the European Commission through the U.S.-EU Energy Council, where P-TEC initiatives will be discussed and progress on projects will be noted.

Now is an exciting time for energy. By its very nature, our global energy landscape is dynamic and intrinsically linked to the very tenets of a free and modern world.

It is all of our responsibility to be good stewards of our resources, and to work together for the betterment of our people, and the generations yet to come.

I firmly believe that we are on the right path and should continue to encourage substantial progress in infrastructure and energy development to fully unleash the potential opportunities and prosperity that coincide with the next wave of innovation, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship.

This path will promote new investment and lead to new breakthroughs throughout the world. A healthy, modern, and strong energy infrastructure network is elemental to a bright energy future.

DOE is committed to fostering that development in the United States, and to supporting our partners and allies abroad as they take steps to do the same.

Let’s work together to develop energy infrastructure. Let’s collaborate to develop the next-generation of clean energy technologies. And let’s ensure our collective energy security for future generations.

I want to again thank Dr. Birol and the IEA for holding this event, and I look forward to the rest of our discussion.

Thank you.