Underscoring the importance of the green energy transition to modern society, the U.S. Senate earlier this week passed a resolution, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a corresponding resolution, and several governors issued their own declarations designating September 26th through 30th “National Clean Energy Week.”
National Clean Energy Week is billed as an annual week-long “celebration of clean energy innovation” to “help solve the world’s most pressing challenges in nuclear, solar, wind, wave, hydropower, geothermal, natural gas, biomass, carbon capture, storage and waste-to-energy technologies.”
The bipartisan event organized by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) and sponsored by a broad list of sponsors ranging from industry groups over trade associations and advocacy groups, culminates in a virtual Policy Makers Symposium with presentations from the Biden Administration, Members of Congress from both sides of the political aisle, as well as industry experts discussing the challenges and opportunities for America in the context of the green energy transition. Among other issues, panels have and continue to focus on
- critical minerals, supply chains and domestic manufacturing;
- innovation and emission reduction in carbon-intensive sectors;
- U.S. competitiveness; and
- workable solutions for nature.
From an ARPN perspective, it was good to see that the forum kicked off with a discussion focused on critical mineral supply chains and domestic manufacturing, because, as our followers well know, “without massive investments in base metals and key minerals, Europe and North America will fail to meet their carbon emission targets and face a new form of energy insecurity,” as Forbes contributor Wal van Lierop wrote last month.
The Biden Administration has taken several steps to strengthen critical mineral supply chains, including the invocation of the Defense Production Act for the “battery criticals” lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel and manganese, and recently enacted provisions in the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are expected to send a strong signal to industry that the United States are serious about confronting the critical minerals supply chain challenge head-on.
With much more remaining to be done, lawmakers have used the occasion of National Clean Energy Week to highlight additional legislation aimed at promoting responsible clean energy development and strengthening critical mineral supply chains and we will continue to monitor if and how these proposals make their ways through Congress in the coming weeks. After a bipartisan passage of the IRA, partisan politics is rearing its head again with the congressional midterm elections only weeks away.
As Shane Lasley, author of the must-read “Critical Mineral Alliances 2022” outlined, we have a broad arsenal from which we can draw, but it will take a concerted, bipartisan effort:
“[t]he optimum solution to laying the foundation for the next epoch of human progress will only be discovered through the forging of unlikely alliances between the woke and old school, environmental conservationists and natural resource developers, liberals and conservatives, national laboratories and private sector entrepreneurs, local stakeholders and global mining companies, venture capitalists and innovators, and everyone else with visions of a cleaner, greener, and high-tech future.”
As we stated before, “from where we stand, the challenge of the 21st Century’s Tech Metals Age begins with a change in mindset toward mining.”