Energy Secretary: ‘All of the Above’ Is Climate-Friendly

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: Secretary of Energy nominee Ernest Moniz arrives for testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. Moniz, a nuclear physicist, testified before a full committee hearing on his pending nomination. 
National Journal
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
Ben Geman
Feb. 26, 2014, 6:59 a.m.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is parrying with environmentalists who recently called the White House’s “all of the above” energy strategy a loser for the climate.

His comments Wednesday are part of administration efforts to defend the dual White House focus on expanded oil and gas production alongside the green-energy sources that activists embrace.

But Moniz, speaking at an Energy Department conference just outside Washington, told the audience he wanted to be “very clear” about what the phrase is about.

“It starts with a commitment to moving to a low-carbon future. It is within that commitment that we are looking to develop the technologies, for example, that allow all of our fuel sources to be competitive in the different marketplaces that we will see in the different parts of our country and in different parts of the world,” he said.

“There is not going to be one low-carbon solution. There are going to be multiple low-carbon solutions. We need all the arrows in the quiver, and that is why we will continue to invest across the board in our different fuels and, of course, efficiency and other technologies,” Moniz added.

He spoke at a conference hosted by the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program, which funds research into breakthrough technologies.

Moniz said his recent travels highlight what’s meant by “all of the above,” and touted efforts to use fossil fuels more cleanly. He noted his visit to a Mississippi coal-fired power plant under construction that will capture carbon emissions to be used in enhanced oil recovery, dedicating a huge solar-power project that recently came online in California, visiting shale drilling areas in Texas but also exploring efficiency efforts in San Antonio, and more.

Moniz was also in Georgia this month touting the federal-loan guarantees for a pair of nuclear reactors that Southern Company is building.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Moniz gave a brief preview of the proposed fiscal year 2015 Energy Department budget that the White House will unveil next week.

“Bluntly, the ‘15 budget year is going to be more difficult than the ‘14 budget year,” he said, noting that the spending caps in the recent Capitol Hill budget deal that Democratic Sen. Parry Murray and GOP Rep. Paul Ryan struck.

But despite that caveat, Moniz said the green-energy portion of the budget will be a priority.

“Without … saying too much, there is no reason to believe that the priority for this clean-energy agenda will be any different, and perhaps it will turn out a little bit better than some other parts of the budget next week,” he said.

Moniz’s wide-ranging speech focused on several of his priorities for the department, including the department’s loan-guarantee program, which has drawn strong GOP criticism in recent years over the failure of the solar-panel company Solyndra and some other flops.

He noted that in the main, the $30 billion loan portfolio — which includes a number of green power-generation projects and loans to automakers for green-car development — is performing well.

“Any rational view of that portfolio is that it has been a major success in doing exactly what it … is designed to do in terms of first-movers of technologies at commercial scale,” Moniz said.

The department has an additional $40 billion-plus in loan-guarantee authority remaining. “We are looking to deploy that … across the board. Advanced vehicles, nuclear, fossil, renewables,” Moniz said.

Initial applications for up to $8 billion worth of loan guarantees for fossil-energy projects that curb or trap carbon emissions are due Friday.

Moniz told reporters that a solicitation for applications for renewable energy projects will be released “relatively soon,” but he did not provide a specific time frame. “I am not talking the end of the year,” he said.

What We're Following See More »
Background Check Bill May Take a Ride on Omnibus
20 hours ago

"Congress is considering attaching a narrow background check bill for gun purchases to a must-pass government funding package before the end of the week, when thousands of high school students are expected to congregate in Washington for the March to End Gun Violence. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday said leadership was talking to its members about adding the background legislation, even as news broke of a new school shooting on Tuesday morning in Maryland."

Omnibus Vote on Thursday
20 hours ago

"The House likely will not vote until Thursday on an omnibus spending bill, according to numerous lawmakers who attended a GOP conference meeting this morning. Some two dozen issues are still outstanding, members were told. The $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 measure must be passed before government funding runs out Friday."

China Tariffs May Be Even Bigger Than Originally Proposed
1 days ago

"President Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against China, following through on a long-time threat that he says will punish China for intellectual property infringement and create more American jobs. The tariff package, which Trump plans to unveil by Friday, was confirmed by four senior administration officials. Senior aides had presented Trump with a $30 billion tariff package that would apply to a range of products, but Trump directed them to roughly double the scope of the new trade levies."

Trump Attorneys Have Offered Documents to Mueller’s Team
1 days ago

"President Trump’s attorneys have provided the special counsel’s office with written descriptions that chronicle key moments under investigation in hopes of curtailing the scope of a presidential interview, according to two people familiar with the situation. Trump’s legal team recently shared the documents in an effort to limit any session between the president and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to a few select topics" on order to "minimize his exposure. ... The lawyers are worried that Trump, who has a penchant for making erroneous claims, would be vulnerable in an hours-long interview."

Trump Isn’t Firing Mueller, Lawyer Says
1 days ago

White House Lawyer Ty Cobb said that President Trump not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller. Speculation swirled after Trump attacked the investigation on Twitter, and called out Mueller directly for the first time. “In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the Administration," Cobb said, "...the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller." Several members of Congress, "including some top Republicans, warned Trump to not even think about terminating Mueller."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.