• May 14, 2019

    Infrastructure Week: Securing Our Energy Future with Reliable Infrastructure

    Matt Letourneau

The seventh annual observance of Infrastructure Week provides an opportunity to highlight the state of our nation’s infrastructure and discuss the projects, technologies and policies necessary to make America prosperous and safe.

Across America, business leaders, workers, advocates and elected officials will raise awareness about the need for new, enhanced and expanded infrastructure whether it’s bridges and highways, pipelines and transmission lines, ports and dams, or railways and tunnels.

The Global Energy Institute recognizes that America’s ability to realize its competitive potential depends on making smart infrastructure choices – and that includes critical energy infrastructure.  

Like other forms of infrastructure, America’s energy infrastructure is a key driver of job creation and economic growth.  Simply put, our economy cannot continue to grow without the energy needed to power it.  The real world impacts of this lack of new energy infrastructure, particularly pipelines, are now being felt in places like New York, where utilities have had to stop hooking up new customers due to a lack of capacity. 

Incredibly, in many cases this lack of infrastructure is by choice.  Unfortunately, our team at GEI predicted this turn of events in a report, Infrastructure Lost: Why America Cannot Afford To ‘Keep It In the Ground,’ examining the economic costs of projects delayed and canceled as a result of the Keep It In the Ground (KIITG) movement.

The study revealed the KIITG campaign, advocating for many of our most reliable energy sources to be left undeveloped, resulted in staggering job losses for blue-collar workers, higher energy prices and billions in economic losses in states and communities across the country. In fact, nowhere is the impact more severe than in the Northeast, where a complete ban on hydraulic fracturing in New York combined with natural gas service moratoriums in New York and New England are dealing a crippling economic blow to communities.

New England’s energy prices are among the highest in the continental United States according to the Energy Information Administration. The region’s grid operator, ISO New England, has concluded that within five years, extreme measures such as rolling blackouts could be necessary nearly every winter just to keep the grid functioning.

The cause of New England’s energy woes is not a shortage of natural gas production in America, but rather a self-imposed, shortage of the critical infrastructure needed to get our abundant supply to where it’s needed. The combined influence of KIITG activist groups and red tape have placed the construction of essential energy infrastructure on the back burner again and again.

Fortunately, not everyone is as short cited as policymakers in the Northeast. Today, President Trump visited the Cameron LNG export terminal in Louisiana, where natural gas produced in America will be exported abroad to improve our global trade balance and provide safe, reliable energy supplies. 

Just last month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the certificates for two major liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, both representing major investments for Gulf Coast states – Driftwood LNG, a production and export terminal south of Lake Charles, La., and Port Arthur LNG, an export terminal in southeast Texas.

This month, we launched our American Energy: Cleaner, Stronger initiative, outlining our commitment to supporting national energy policies that focus on leveraging America’s natural resources for maximum benefit, while using technology and innovation to continue environmental progress.   That includes energy infrastructure.

As we recognize Infrastructure Week, we remember that energy infrastructure is the backbone of a healthy economy – and that realizing America’s energy potential will depend on innovative, flexible and secure infrastructure.