Yesterday, the Obama administration released the first installment of the new Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), a four-year cycle of assessments deigned to provide a roadmap for U.S. energy policy. This first installment focuses on the needs and opportunities for modernizing the nationwide infrastructure for transmitting, storing, and distributing energy. Dr. John Holdren and Dan Utech said:
Today, America has the most advanced energy system in the world. A steady supply of reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean power and fuels underpins every facet of our nation’s economy. But the U.S. energy landscape is changing dramatically, with important implications for the vast networks of pipelines, wires, waterways, railroads, storage systems, and other facilities that form the backbone of America’s energy system.
The administration hopes that careful analysis and modernization of energy infrastructure will promote economic competitiveness, energy security, and environmental responsibility.
This first QER installment comes just in time for Earth Day, which has spurred many sectors of the government into action. Over the past two days, the House of Representatives sent an energy efficiency bill to the president’s desk, the Department of Justice and the EPA levied $5 million in penalties against ExxonMobil for a 2013 oil spill, Democratic House members introduced the “strongest anti-fracking” bill yet brought to the House, which would ban fracking on all federal lands. The president is also doing his part, touting his plans to impact climate change at debates in Florida.
Though Earth Day has a tendency to bring out people’s far-fetched energy plans, it does do some good as well. According to the Annual Energy Outlook, improvements in energy efficiency, increases in energy demand, and the stabilization of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have all benefited since the first Earth Day 45 years ago.