Bipartisanship is a rare but critical commodity in Washington these days. So, it’s all the more laudable that a recently introduced Senate bill will promote U.S. production of minerals and materials critical to clean energy and electric vehicle value chains. The Minerals Security Act is an important first step in recognizing -- and responding to -- the fact that China is outcompeting the U.S in the transition to new energy technologies and vehicles.
After decades of energy dependence, the United States became the largest energy producer in the world in 2018, topping Saudi Arabia and Russia in the production of crude oil and natural gas. Five years ago, U.S. LNG exports were virtually non-existent, with the exception of pipelines between the United States, Mexico and Canada. By 2020, the Energy Information Agency projects the United States will become a net exporter of energy for the first time since the 1950s.
Recently, the Australia-based firm Battery Mineral Resources Ltd. asked the federal government for permission to drill four exploratory wells to see if the hot, salty brine beneath the valley floor contains economically viable concentrations of lithium. The soft, silvery-white metal is a key component of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and is crucial to the production of electric and hybrid vehicles.
The much-hyped Green New Deal, which laid out the broad strokes of a U.S. transition to green energy by 2030, failed in Congress. But its champions haven’t given up. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and other like-minded legislators are working on a series of smaller bills to achieve the same end.
U.S. energy regulators are pursuing a risky plan to share with electric utilities a secret "don't buy" list of foreign technology suppliers, according to multiple sources. The move reflects the federal government's growing concern that hackers and foreign spies are targeting America's vital energy infrastructure. And it's also raised new questions about the value of top-secret U.S. intelligence if it can't get into the hands of power industry executives who can act on it to avoid high-risk vendors.
The U.S. shale revolution has turned the global energy markets upside down. The U.S. has become one of the largest oil producers on the planet and is fast becoming a major force in the export market. The shale revolution was driven by pioneering technology that unlocked oil and gas that was traditionally considered uncommercial to develop.
Sixteen months ago, researchers reported an unsettling escalation in hacks targeting power plants, gas refineries, and other types of critical infrastructure. Attackers who may have been working on behalf of a nation caused an operational outage at a critical-infrastructure site after deliberately targeting a system that prevented health- and life-threatening accidents.
The complex web of U.S. pipelines, tanks and export terminals that’s helped make America the world’s top oil producer is causing a headache for some crude buyers. As various types of crude pass through the supply chain from inland shale fields spanning Texas to North Dakota, they risk picking up impurities before reaching Asia -- the world’s biggest oil-consuming region.
Dubbed the “New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy Independence,” Alexander’s vision would see a doubling of clean energy research funding across DOE’s Office of Science over the next five years. The plan specifically calls for addressing 10 “Grand Challenges”: advanced nuclear, natural gas, carbon capture, electric vehicles, green buildings, batteries, solar power, fusion, advanced computing and energy research funding.
When it comes to wind energy, the United States is sitting on a gold mine, so to speak. "To me, this is like when oil was first discovered in the U.S.," says Jerome Hajjar, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northeastern University. It's a moment of untapped potential that, if harnessed properly, could transform the way the U.S. uses energy, he says.