By Merilee Kern, MBA
As the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions gains momentum, the undercurrent of seismic cultural shifts is creating a challenging business landscape for energy companies to flourish. Indeed, varied energy-specific concerns continue to dominate the news cycle—both intra-industry related to technology modernization, scalability, adaptability, generational recruitment and more as well as environmental, societal and cultural issues of consumer resonance.
With energy companies a crossroad, Southern Gas Association CEO Suzanne Ogle is weighing in with some consequential insight. “I have a unique perspective on the importance of our nation’s energy mix and why it matters now more than ever,” Ogle notes. “There are 10 key reasons why a comprehensive energy mix is crucial to sustain, and further, America’s energy security, innovation, geopolitical stability and climate goals.”
Here are Ogle’s 10 reasons why the United States energy mix matters now more than ever.
1. Energy Supply and Demand Imbalance – Global Bottlenecks and Price Spikes
The world is facing an energy supply and demand imbalance that is causing global bottlenecks and price spikes. The demand for energy will only increase over the next 30 years as the middle class expands, and we cannot ignore this growing demand or our reliance on foreign powers. The energy mix plays a crucial role in addressing our long-term energy needs, ensuring that we can produce the energy the world needs while lowering emissions and carbon intensity.
2. Solving Our Energy and Climate Needs
Working together, we can create smarter, better energy that meets our growing needs while reducing emissions. Modernizing our energy infrastructure will allow us to produce reliable and affordable energy with the lowest emissions possible. The energy mix is a crucial tool in solving our energy and climate needs and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.
3. Energy Security
Energy security is a critical concern for the United States and around the world. Ensuring secure and affordable energy supplies, as well as system flexibility, is vital to protecting the resilience of our electricity. The energy mix is a crucial component of our energy security strategy, providing a reliable source of energy and reducing our dependence on foreign powers.
4. Geopolitical Instability
In today’s global community, the world looks to the United States for energy supplies and assistance. The energy mix plays an important role in meeting our own nation’s energy needs while also providing energy to our foreign allies. This reduces their dependence on unreliable suppliers and helps to promote geopolitical stability. The recent events in Europe serve as a reminder that energy security is national security.
The increasing use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power has raised concerns about the security of our energy infrastructure. The diffuse and decentralized nature of renewable generation makes it more vulnerable to cyberattacks. The energy mix helps to mitigate these risks by providing a diverse and resilient energy supply.
6. Private Capital Markets
Viable energy solutions do not need subsidies, they need assurance from the capital markets that projects are viable and won’t be delayed or revisited. It takes the government years to approve permits, and Congress must come together to reform permitting for modern infrastructure. The energy mix provides the assurance needed for private capital markets to invest in energy solutions that will meet our future energy needs.
7. Energy Justice
Lowering emissions in the United States while raising them abroad is not justice. Producing and exporting more energy helps to lower emissions globally and create a more sustainable future for all. The energy mix provides a path to energy justice by reducing emissions while meeting our energy needs.
America is leading the way in energy innovation, investing in—and developing—new technologies that deliver reliable energy while reducing emissions. The energy mix is a crucial component of this innovation, utilizing carbon capture and utilization, renewable natural gas, and addressing the energy production process, including flare management.
9. Need for a Cohesive Energy Policy
Reversing rhetoric and seeking bipartisan problem-solving is crucial to building consensus around meaningful energy reform. Policies that enhance the American energy supply chain and encourage investment will provide the foundation for a cohesive energy policy that meets our energy needs while reducing emissions. The energy mix is a crucial component of this policy, providing a diverse and resilient energy supply.
10. America’s Energy Advantage
America can step up and help the world meet demand. American infrastructure and innovation and the strength of our nation provide energy security for American people and our Allies. This will be imperative in keeping America’s place in the world and as an example of how we lead.
Not to be confused with the power generation mix, which refers only to generation of electricity, the energy mix applies to all direct uses of energy, such as transportation and housing. Last year, natural gas fueled over a third (38%) of U.S. electricity generation, up from 37% in 2021, while Coal-fired electricity generated 20%. Key to our nation’s energy security, a viable energy mix helps thwart system and supply disruption. Reports continue to underscore how diversifying our energy mix, to include an array of low-carbon resources—both renewable and not, helps build political independence, economic growth, and environmental protection for all.
With this diversification deemed mission critical, it’s more important now than ever before to empower innovation and incorporate new technology and solutions to meet the energy needs of today, tomorrow and beyond.