Reflections on the Energy Transition

A Collection of Testimonies by Ernest J. Moniz

Cover image for report -Reflections on the Energy Transition: A Collection of Testimonies by Ernest J. Moniz

Reflections on the Energy Transition, A Collection of Testimonies by Ernest J. Moniz (June 2021) offers a look back on three written testimonies submitted by EFI’s Founder and CEO, Ernest Moniz, to U.S. House and Senate committees during the 117th Congress. Over March and April of 2021, Moniz testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (April 22, 2021); the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (April 15, 2021); and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology (March 22, 2021). 

On April 22, 2021, Moniz testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs in a hearing titled, “21st Century Communities: Capitalizing on Opportunities in the Clean Energy Economy.” Moniz discussed the risks posed by climate change to financial systems and critical infrastructures, as well as some possible solutions for addressing those risks.

“It is critical that we develop a new, flexible climate risk profile for energy systems and the broader economy, including the associated analytical tools,” Moniz said. “This is an area that needs significant innovation investments in new models, techniques, and approaches for considering climate change-based risk into the system.” 

On April 15, 2021, Moniz testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in a hearing titled, “Reimagining Our Innovation Future.” He described the critical context for guiding innovation investments, including the changing risk profile, the complex interdependencies of critical infrastructures, and the growing importance of supply chains. He said that energy innovation is the essence of America’s security and strength and is critical for addressing climate change. He referenced findings from the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) report, “Advancing the Landscape of Clean Energy Innovation” and gave a shortlist of breakthrough technology areas.

“To ensure the U.S. economy reaches net zero carbon by midcentury, there must be a supercharging of clean energy innovation,” Moniz said. “This means increased, and more targeted, public, and private sector investment and close alignment across all stages of innovation—from basic research through demonstrations and deployment.”

On March 22, 2021, Moniz testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology for a hearing titled, “LIFT America: Revitalizing Our Nation’s Infrastructure and Economy.” Moniz highlighted the importance for a deeply decarbonized economy of continuing to decarbonize the electricity sector, of electrifying other economic sectors (especially transportation), and of developing large-scale carbon management. He said carbon capture and storage at gigaton scale from power plants and industrial facilities will require major carbon dioxide pipeline infrastructure and significant hubs for geological storage. Moniz also said that it is very unlikely that efficiently decarbonizing the economy can be fully achieved through electrification only, and that a low-carbon fuel will be needed. The general view today is that hydrogen is the most likely candidate.

Since its inception, EFI has established a reputation for offering realistic, science-based energy solutions. EFI work products have found an enthusiastic audience on Capitol Hill. EFI principals have testified in many hearings and frequently brief members of Congress. 

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