Energy security requires broad range of sources, U.S. says
Regional-USA, Economics, 5/4/2005
Countries should consider a whole range of energy sources when they make their energy security plans, U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman says.
In May 3 remarks at the International Energy Agency (IEA) meeting in Paris, Bodman said investment must go not only into fossil fuels but also into nontraditional sources such as hydrogen, nuclear and renewable energy.
The scale of investment needed to meet global energy demand was cited as a major challenge to future energy security in the group’s final communiqué. According to the IEA, $16 trillion must be invested in the global energy sector over the next 25 years.
To make that happen, countries must foster an inviting investment climate based on respect for the rule of law, enforceable contracts and regulatory certainty, he said.
Bodman said this condition applies to developing as well as developed countries, including the United States, where new energy-related investments have been discouraged by regulatory uncertainty and other barriers.
President Bush has recently announced proposals that are intended to address some of those problems.
Bodman urged other countries to use the latest clean energy technologies, which he said have the most benign impact on the environment and great potential for meeting the energy demand of fast-growing emerging markets.
The 26-member IEA is an international body committed to advancing the security of the energy supply, economic growth and environmental sustainability.
Following is the text of Bodman’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
I am delighted to be participating in my first meeting of the IEA.
All of us recognize that satisfying our growing energy needs represents a global challenge. I believe we can meet that challenge by working in concert to expand energy diversity, increase efficiency and conservation efforts, enhance and upgrade our energy infrastructure, develop new and existing energy supplies, and promote free and fair commerce.
Each of these avenues will require, in varying degrees, substantial capital investment. Let me touch on a few areas that I think we should consider in our discussions today.
First, I think it is fair to say that energy security no longer means quite the same thing as it did when the IEA was founded in 1974.
Certainly, maintaining a substantial emergency oil reserve remains an important goal. But the investments we make today in our future energy security should look not only to traditional hydrocarbons, but toward a whole range of energy sources, including hydrogen, nuclear, and renewable sources.
For investment in any part of the energy sector to be successful over the long term, we must also foster an attractive investment climate that respects the rule of law, honors contracts, and provides regulatory certainty.
Let me emphasize that these conditions apply to all of us, and are not just themes with which to lecture the developing world.
My own nation is faced with growing demand for electricity and extremely tight oil refining capacity. Neither of these problems is new or unexpected. Yet the United States has not built a new nuclear power plant or a new oil refinery in decades—in large part because new investments have been discouraged by regulatory uncertainty and other barriers. Last week, President Bush announced measures our Administration is taking to address these issues, but there is still much work to be done.
Finally, our understanding of how our energy use affects the environment is a subject that has become very prominent and is likely to remain so. Because energy investments tend to be so capital intensive, and new energy projects tend to be so large and long-lasting, we need to think about how our investments today will impact the world decades from now.
Developing nations building new infrastructure, as well as industrialized countries which are replacing and upgrading their infrastructure, should think about utilizing the latest technologies with the best environmental performance. In the transportation sector, we can mitigate the side effects of petroleum-based fuel with new clean diesel and hybrid vehicles. We can build electricity grids of the twenty-first century with better technology, such as superconductive wires. And instead of the conventional coal-burning technologies, we can focus on developing and building state-of-art clean coal power generators that emit no pollutants or greenhouse gases.
Clean coal technologies, along with nuclear power, have great potential for meeting the global energy demand, particularly among the growing Asian economies.
These are a few of the priorities that I see, and that President Bush is pursuing with his energy policy for the United States.
Of course, there are many challenges we face, and other viewpoints and suggestions will emerge in our discussions. But I think we would all agree that everyone has an important role to play.
Let me conclude by thanking the IEA for providing this forum.
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