May 27, 2021


America’s Energy Transition Doesn’t Need More Regulatory Disruption

By: Kelvey Vander Hart

Earlier this month, White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy made national news for her remarks regarding energy policy during a live event. To the dismay of many progressive environmental organizations, McCarthy explained that she and the White House view nuclear power as a key part of the pathway toward full decarbonization of America’s energy grid. McCarthy makes a good point – as our energy industry transitions, we should not create  any gaping holes by eliminating  key sections of our current power generation. 

It’s no secret that our nation is moving toward complete use of renewable energy. t The International Energy Agency’s Renewable Energy Market Update 2021 report is making waves because they found that,“By 2050, almost 90% of electricity generation comes from renewable sources, with wind and solar PV together accounting for nearly 70%.” 

But,  that is a good thing – ‘it’s  proof of innovation at work. Renewable energy is becoming more efficient and affordable. Technology is improving and available siting locations for projects like wind and solar continue to increase (offshore wind, anyone?). Breakthroughs in battery and transmission technology are also helping take these sources of energy to previously unfathomable levels.

Now, many Americans support the continuation of nuclear power as a clean and safe option in our energy mix. But there is another loud segment of the population that would like to see nuclear power removed from our energy generation mix. What  these individuals need to understand is that the American energy transition is already well underway. Regulations and bans that shoot holes in our energy makeup will not get us there faster. 

That does not just apply to nuclear – it applies to coal, oil, and other forms of energy that we currently rely on. Instead of banning fossil fuels and other forms of energy,  we should be putting our innovative new technology to work in order to grow American sustainability  throughout our great energy transition. Innovation is what sets our free-market system apart. Why is the energy industry any different? 

What does this look like? One example is the important method of improving fossil fuels’ environmental impact through the implementation of carbon capture technology. The American Conservation Coalition notes

“By capturing the carbon emitted at a power plant that uses fossil fuels to generate electricity, CCS [carbon capture and storage] technology makes that power generation cleaner and more efficient. It creates a closed loop system of carbon capture and reprocessing within the power plant for the production process, allowing the plant to reduce its emissions without tearing it down.” 

Our nation is already hurtling toward a renewable and clean energy future. Through the free-market and consumer choice, environmentally friendly energy options are being chosen more and more. Particular  forms of energy are already becoming part of the past. We should let the market run  its course instead of calling on the government to launch an ineffective attempt to get us to our future state faster, but less efficiently.