Remarks As Prepared for Secretary Perry
Thank you…Marty (Durbin, President, Global Energy Institute)… for that kind introduction….it is great to be back at the Chamber of Commerce… and to address business leaders who are invested in America’s energy future.
I always like to remind people ... that while Washington sets policy goals for the nation…those goals can only be achieved when it treats you as senior partners…who drive our progress.
And as I conclude my time as U.S. Energy Secretary…I believe that to be true… now more than ever.
And I am delighted by the extraordinary progress we’ve made together in energy.
To appreciate how far we’ve come…we must step back and remember where we once were.
When the Department of Energy first opened its doors more than four decades ago. America was producing far too little energy at home…and importing far too much of it from abroad… often from unfriendly sources.
As a result…we had gas lines at the pump…and unemployment lines nationwide.
At that time…the conventional wisdom from Washington was clear.
Americans were told that the age of abundance and affordability was over.
They were told we could no longer produce enough energy … to sustain our way of life.
They were told that even if we could…it would somehow destroy our environment.
And so…they were told to trim their sails…tighten their belts…buy a sweater… downsize their dreams…and let government regulate scarce supply.
But in their short-sighted deliberations…they forgot something that was blindingly obvious.
They forgot about our country’s history… of expanding supply… changing entire economic landscapes….and doing it through the phenomenal power of innovation.
They forgot how… only 30 years before …we had split the atom….20 years after that…we had put an American into space…and in 1969…we had walked on the moon.
But I am proud to say there were plenty of Americans …who didn’t forget.
And while Washington continued to work against them…something refreshingly different was happening in many of our states and in the private sector.
In places like my home state of Texas…taxes were reduced and regulations reined in…providing both the incentive and the freedom to innovate.
And with innovation came a revolution in technology.
The major breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling…began in Texas.
And at DOE…in our National Labs…research and development not only made this technology possible…but others as well.
And today…President Trump has brought to Washington a commitment to rein in regulation… and put innovation squarely in the driver’s seat of our economic and energy policy.
He has signed off on new pipelines…and removed draconian restrictions on responsible oil and gas exploration.
And let me stress how proud I am of DOE’s efforts to revive and revitalize nuclear energy… and to advance renewables…battery storage…and energy efficiency.
The President has pushed through tax as well as regulatory reform.
He has revived America’s sense of purpose and opportunity.
And so…manufacturing is booming…jobs and wages are soaring…opportunity is bursting out everywhere…and America is in the midst of a truly historic energy revolution.
From fossil fuels to renewables…supply has risen…costs have fallen…efficiencies have increased… energy diversity has expanded.
The United States is now producing its energy more abundantly and more affordably…more cleanly and more efficiently…and from a wider range of energy sources… than anyone was predicting just a few short years ago….and we are now standing right at the doorstep… of energy independence.
Today….we are the world’s second biggest generator of wind and solar energy.
We are number one in producing oil…producing more of it than Saudi Arabia …and we are number one in producing natural gas…producing more of it than Russia.
And today…the world is seeking our energy leadership and innovation…and we are providing it.
We are now sharing our energy bounty with the world…and by doing so…we are changing the world.
In the blink of an eye…we’ve become a net exporter of natural gas…exporting our LNG to 36 countries spanning five continents.
By next year…we’ll become a net energy exporter as well…and we are poised to export the technology that unleased our bounty in the first place
From oil and gas to nuclear technology…no matter which resource or technology we offer… we are paving the way toward liberating our democratic friends and allies from dependence on dictatorial nations that wield their power as a geopolitical weapon.
We will help our friends increase their energy security….strengthen their economic security…and bolster their national security.
Now granted…this won’t happen overnight.
As everyone in this room knows…our businesses face blatantly unfair competition from the Kremlin...and from China…which are engaged in efforts to make entire continents economically dependent and politically subservient to their ways and their will.
But despite these challenges…I believe that if Washington does its job right...we can and we will meet this challenge together.
But there is another challenge we face today.
We stand at a critical crossroads….with one road leading to an unprecedented new wave of innovation…and the other leading to a catastrophic return to overregulation.
The first road is being paved by an already-emerging revolution in Artificial Intelligence.
Through A.I….our Department of Energy…and its National Labs…are on a path to revolutionizing every part of the energy landscape…from exploration…to development…to delivery.
To that end…I am pleased to announce today that DOE is committing $20 million for projects through its ARPA-E program…to drive early-stage innovations in AI and machine learning.
But then there’s the other road.
In the name of clean energy…some are proposing… to regulate every source besides renewables…completely out of existence.
The irony is…that through innovation…. we are already making our energy cleaner.
We are producing more zero-emissions renewables…and more low-emissions natural gas… than ever before.
We are making our coal cleaner than it’s ever been…we’ve driven down mercury and other emissions….to historically low levels.
And we will make greater reductions through carbon capture utilization and storage….or CCUS…technologies.
And as we revitalize zero-emissions nuclear energy through advanced reactor technology….we will drive down emissions in our energy mix even further.
And that is precisely why….the same country that leads the world in oil and gas production…. leads all nations…including every signatory of the Paris accord…in reducing energy-related emissions.
And you who are in the private sector are a big reason for this progress.
You’re the reason that from 2005 through 2018…while our GDP rose significantly…America’s total greenhouse gas emissions fell dramatically…with the reduction especially strong in our power sector.
You’re the reason Americans now benefit from some of the lowest electricity rates in the world…they are half of what the EU pays…and one-third of what Germany pays.
You’re the reason that energy-related carbon emissions fell at an even greater pace.
And you’re reason we’re doing it all…without sacrificing one single fuel…one bit of growth…one iota of opportunity.
For those who would abandon the spirit of innovation…and ban all fuels besides renewables…here are some tough questions.
What will they say to unemployed Americans from that region who are about to find well-paying jobs as our LNG exports boom and a petro-chemical industry that is making a remarkable comeback?
Thanks to lower energy costs from that same shale revolution…the President’s Council of Economic Advisors’ recent report notes that U.S. consumers now save more than $203 billion a year…or $2500 for a family of four.
What will they say to those consumers?
Thanks to that same revolution…the CEA report notes that from 2005 to 2017…U.S. energy-related greenhouse gas emissions were lowered by nine percent.
How do they square their support for the environment with advocating a ban on fuels that are making it cleaner?
The world’s two most reliable 24/7 fuels are nuclear and coal…both of which they want us to ban.
What will they say to the world’s poorest people when these same fuels provide them reliable…life-saving…life-changing electricity… for the first time ever?
As we approach these crossroads…it is my hope that our country chooses wisely.
It is my hope that we choose the proven path…the path that ignites prosperity… liberates nations… and empowers people everywhere.
It is my hope that we choose the path of innovation…the surest path to a more abundant…affordable…and clean…energy future…for America…and for the world.