All-of-the-Above Strategy Necessitates Collaboration, Free Market

There is no denying that energy demand is surging—forecasted to grow 4.7 percent over the next five years, compared to a previous estimate of 2.6 percent. Efforts to meet this demand, however, are hotly contested and debated. Utilities in the Southeast United States are eyeing new gas power plants in order to keep up with a massive buildout of data centers and factories. Critics of the traditional fuel industry claim the moves are solely profit driven—and contend that renewable energy is cheaper and as, if not more, efficient than oil and gas. These critics fail to acknowledge the critical fact that renewable sources cannot keep up with rapidly increasing energy demands.

The Southern Renewable Energy Association executive director recently stated, “Utilities across the Southeast are scrambling to find every last megawatt they can get…. They are trying desperately to get these new large-load customers, because they make more money when they sell more power.” What he fails to mention is that these utilities want more power because their grids are in risk of failure if demand continues to rise, especially with an energy-hostile administration intent on ending fossil fuels. It is ironic that the executive director of a renewable energy association points to financial motives, when his organization and its members stand to benefit monetarily from the proliferation of renewables. Utility companies depend on traditional fuel sources because they are tried and true, affordable, and do not vary productivity depending on the weather.

That is not to say the U.S. should not adopt green energy technologies. An all-of-the-above strategy will be paramount to addressing energy security and emissions. But the federal government should not favor one source over the other to facilitate this outcome. The Biden administration has made clear their intent to transition the energy grid towards renewables through the proliferation of agency rulemaking. A collaborative approach across sectors of the energy industry would be more beneficial towards securing our nation’s grids than finger-pointing and fear mongering.

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