Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm at CERAweek 2022
March 9, 2022, Houston, TX
Thanks so much Dan—I'm so glad to be here at CERAWeek for the second year in a row, this time in person!
We could not be having this conversation at a more intense, troubling, shocking time in world history...with enormous consequences for the future of energy.
Maybe it’s because a global crisis like what’s happening in Ukraine sharpens the mind, but I’m in a mood to cut to the chase here and tell you what I really think about where we are at as a country and as a part of the energy sector.
Like many of you, I’m shocked and furious about what I’m seeing.
The images of Ukrainian bravery and determination are breathtaking. The images of carnage and bombing and death are sickening. Ukrainian grandmothers and grandsons will fight with knives and broomsticks if they have to, to keep their country.
Their bravery should inspire all of us to do our part, to enlist in this battle in the ways we can. It’s why President Biden announced yesterday that the U.S. will ban Russian oil imports—we will not be financing Vladimir Putin’s war.
Bravo to BP, Exxon, Shell and others in the private sector who are withdrawing from Russian operations. But there’s more to do. There are more battles.
Putin’s actions have sent the oil market reeling. I don’t have to tell you that when oil is $109 a barrel, and $4.25 at the pump, the impacts are severe and real for people who buy your product—regular working folks, from Uber drivers to teachers to farmers.
So, what else can we do in this fight? We are on a war footing—an emergency—and we have to responsibly increase short-term supply where we can right now to stabilize the market and to minimize harm to American families.
That means releases from strategic reserves across the world, like we’ve done. And that means you producing more right now, where and if you can.
And at the same time, the war in Ukraine isn’t the only thing sending shock waves through the energy sector. We’ve also got to reckon with the impact of climate change—and the clean energy transition that isn’t just coming; it’s here.
You all know that – you’re wrestling with it yourselves: your investors are demanding climate action. And your customers are demanding climate action—seventy percent of voting Americans support the clean energy transition.
I get it—this is beyond hard. You’ve got businesses to run and employees who are nervous about the change. So we have to do this right – with the right timing, the right technologies, the right partnerships. And we CAN.
But we can’t do it if we are fighting internal battles. Some people here (or at least lobbyists and Beltway politicians) seem to think this is the time to recycle old talking points.
People are arguing that if a pipeline that wouldn’t have even been in operation by now were still under construction, the situation with today’s oil prices would somehow be different.
Or that President Biden’s policies have decreased production, when we are actually at record levels of natural gas and LNG, and will be at record levels of oil production by next year. When there are over 9,000 onshore drilling permits that are sitting unused.
We all know that’s the same old DC BS.
Aren’t we ready to finally work together to confront this moment of crisis…and come out stronger on the other side?
I’m here to tell you that the Department of Energy, and the entire Biden administration, is ready to work with you to seize the opportunity of clean energy.
That means we have to deploy clean technologies as fast as possible—but we’re under no illusion that every American will get an EV or a heat pump tomorrow or next month or next year.
It is a transition...and we’re pragmatic about what it means. We know it won’t happen overnight.
And we’re serious about decarbonizing while providing reliable energy that doesn’t depend on foreign adversaries.
That means we’ll walk and chew gum at the same time. So yes, right now, we need oil and gas production to rise to meet current demand.
And we are here to work with anyone and everyone who’s serious about taking a leap toward the future...by diversifying your energy portfolio to add clean fuels and technologies, like many of you are starting to do or have been doing...by creating good-paying jobs for your talented workforce in the energy industry of the future...and by reaping the rewards of a clean energy market that will exceed $23 trillion by the end of the decade.
Maybe you’re excited about clean hydrogen. Maybe it’s carbon capture and storage. Maybe it’s offshore wind... geothermal...lithium from geothermal brines… sustainable aviation fuels...EV charging...you name it.
We’re ready to partner with the private sector through the $62 billion that Congress just gave us in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Most of that funding is going out through competitive grants...and we’re eager to receive your best and most innovative ideas.
I’m here to extend a hand of partnership...because we’ll only be able to meet these challenges of oil and gas supply and climate change by working together.
For me, Putin’s actions and the resolve of the Ukrainian people give me even more determination to get this energy transition right.
The truth is, the U.S. government has always partnered with the energy industry in times of need. For over a hundred years, the oil and gas industry has powered our nation and gotten us where we are today. We are eternally grateful for that.
And we want you to power this country for the next hundred years with zero-carbon technologies.
It’s often hard to see history in the making. But we’re on the cusp of the most important transition human society has ever seen. I hope we’ll look back at 2022 as the year the world took giant steps to improve energy security and tackle climate change.
And to do that—to be on the right side of history—we need to work together.
Let’s start now.