Department of Energy

The New American Energy Era: Secretary Perry Keynote Address at CERA Week

March 13, 2019

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Watch on Twitter: Secretary Perry delivers the keynote address about the new era of American energy at CERAWeek in Texas on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Please note: Introduction and the speech begins at 35:40. 

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you for that kind introduction….and welcome to Houston….

And for those who have been to CERA Week before…welcome back to Texas. 

When I was governor of this state…I had the best job in the world.

Now… as Secretary of Energy… I have the coolest job… which comes with a front-row seat to some of the most astonishing examples of cutting-edge innovation. 

And having seen those modern miracles …I believe we must reaffirm innovation as the great engine of progress which offers wondrous choices and opportunities… here in the US and across the globe.

At our incredible National Laboratories…we have decoded DNA… helped kick-start the development of the world wide web …brought safe water to countless people…pioneered nuclear safety modeling…assisted the shale gas revolution…sped up detection of the Ebola virus …and ignited the LED revolution. 

And today…residing in our national labs are the two most powerful computers in the world and five of the ten fastest.

These powerful machines will unlock the tremendous potential of artificial intelligence -- providing scientists and researchers the ability to quickly analyze massive datasets for answers to the world’s most complex problems.

And as you all well know, it is already proving to be a magnificent tool for energy. Today, at DOE, we are leveraging AI insights to optimize grid security and resiliency, increase energy efficiency in our homes and businesses, and ensure that our nuclear deterrent is safe and effective

But what you may not know is that DOE-fueled AI is accelerating the pace of discovery in health care too. We’re improving treatments for everything from cancer to Traumatic Brain Injury … and we are helping fight the opioid epidemic.

AI has the potential to literally transform every aspect of the world as we know it. I’m tremendously excited about what this next year of AI innovations will reveal.

When we met last year…I spoke about what I called the New Energy Realism….how through a cascade of innovative breakthroughs... we are producing a wider range of fuels… more abundantly and affordably…while using them more cleanly and efficiently…than ever …

and I noted how President Trump’s all-of-the-above energy strategy was accelerating our progress.

Since that time…our progress has continued…and we are approaching the dawn of what I will call the New American Energy Era…an era of vastly improved energy choice for the world...where we embrace new and smarter ways to reach our energy AND our environmental goals.

The signs of this new era are everywhere.

Over the past two years…innovation has expanded our solar energy by nearly 90 percent…and has done the same for our wind power...which this year will exceed hydropower generation for the first time ever. One point of home-state pride…Texas now produces 15 percent of its energy from wind and solar…and we just surpassed Europe.

Last year at this time…the US was the world’s number-one natural gas producer… now we’re the world’s number-one oil producer as well.

And between now and 2025…the United States will contribute an estimated one-half of the world’s growth in oil and gas production.

Recently…I joined Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil for their announcement of a joint investment exceeding $10 billion for an LNG export terminal in Golden Pass. This one investment alone has the ability to generate nearly $35 billion in economic gains over the life of the project and is expected to create over 45,000 direct and indirect jobs.

And we have a number of other projects coming online that will increase our LNG export capacity by 150 percent over last year…with three projects already operating and three new projects expected to begin exporting later this year.

Today…we export our LNG to 34 countries spanning five continents.  And US coal exports had their second best year ever.

And we expect to become a net energy exporter next year…and for the next 30 years.

Thanks to innovation…we have more than enough energy to share with the world… and with it comes freedom of choice for energy consumers everywhere…including places where it had never existed.

For such countries…choice means this…if they were bound to just one nation for their energy needs…they are bound no more.

If they were restricted to just one energy source for those needs…they are restricted no more.

And that’s just the beginning.

Whether as customers of U.S. producers….or as producers themselves…we want other countries to benefit from the innovative technology that unleashed our energy abundance

What we offer is true energy choice…borne out of innovation…and marked by diversity of supply…of nations providing that supply…and of routes to deliver that supply.

And across the world…energy choice will strengthen energy security…economic security…and national security.

And along with energy choice…the United States supports competitive markets… the rule of law… and the sanctity of contracts.

We uphold the transparency of energy deals…and oppose using energy to coerce any nation.  And that is why we oppose the construction of the Nordstream 2 and Turkish Stream pipelines.

In my travels abroad… the discussion equating energy security with national security is especially welcomed.

Last September…when I was in Bucharest, Romania at the Three Seas Summit…we took a big step forward by announcing a groundbreaking initiative with like-minded European countries ...the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy Cooperation….or PTEC.

Working with sister agencies in Washington…and key policymakers in Europe…we seek to build upon our European alliances to advance economic prosperity…by strengthening energy security and promoting open…competitive…and transparent trade.

I am proud to announce that tomorrow…PTEC will gather for the first time… right here in Houston… and I will address and hear from member nations who share our commitment to energy diversity and national security.

The underpinnings of our energy achievements can also be applied to other challenges…most notably our efforts to improve the quality of our air and water.

For decades, some have claimed we are running out of resources like oil…and that even if we’re not…we will destroy our environment if we keep producing them.

In response to these assertions…innovation has spoken…and refuted them completely.

We are not running out of energy….we are producing it more abundantly than ever…and more cleanly as well.

Just ask Dr. Fatih Birol…the head of the IEA…who recently said that we’ve not only led the world in reducing energy-related emissions...our reductions are the largest ever recorded.

And the way we did it is clear…not through the onerous regulations of the Paris Accords…but by continued innovation in our science-driven labs …and by people like you who are in this room.

As a result…we are not constricting energy choice...we are preserving and expanding it.

Rather than driving down fuels that produce emissions…we’ve been driving down emissions while producing those same fuels.

And because we did…we can lead the world in producing electricity from all fuels with near-zero emissions.

Now I am delighted there is a newfound passion in many corners for pursuing cleaner energy.

And while it might be easy to call someone a critic because we don’t agree on a cause or share the same approach to solving a challenge…I prefer to call them a competitor.

That’s because I believe that when competing ideas are discussed and debated …we open the door to progress.

And so… I am constantly amazed by the lack of discussion around the progress already being made.

We need more open and candid discussion…we need a healthy competition of ideas on energy and the environment…instead of banning certain ideas simply because they don’t fit someone’s narrative.

And as part of that discussion …we need to face reality.

We need to  embrace… not reject… the science and the evidence that support the smart use of our technologies that drive down emissions or… like nuclear energy… don’t even produce them in first place .

From carbon capture utilization and energy storage to small modular nuclear reactors…we need to support more innovation…not less of it. 

We need to apply that innovation to expand our energy usage and create real-world progress like bringing the life-changing benefits from electricity to the world’s poorest people trapped in energy poverty. 

These aren’t sound bites…they are genuine challenges we can tackle.

Energy independence used to be a sound bite… now it’s a reality…

Curtailing it would erase today’s great economic gains and environmental achievements….…while limiting tomorrow’s innovative solutions to our biggest challenges.

As we look to the future…I know that despite our challenges… everyone in this room is as excited and as optimistic as I am about the incredible potential of the new era we are entering.

If we continue to be inclusive…not exclusive…if we keep saying yes to competition and choice…our optimism will be richly rewarded. 

This New American Energy Era will move forward…bringing unprecedented benefit to the world…unleashing greater innovation than ever…so that  sovereign nations will  share in the benefits of prosperity…freedom…and security…for this generation…and for generations to come.

Thank you.