On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry (one of ASPs founding board members) addressed the 2014 NYC Climate Week conference to discuss the future of climate change and its implications for the United States and the international community. While stressing the importance of capping greenhouse gas emissions, Kerry remained hopeful on the topic of energy:
The energy market that is staring us in the face today, staring a nation like the United States of America that actually doesn’t even have a national energy grid – a lot of people don’t realize that; we have an East Coast grid, a West Coast grid, a Texas grid, and up in the north around Chicago, out to the Dakotas, we have a line of connection. That’s it. There’s a gaping hole in the center of America. We do not have a national grid. A country that doesn’t have a national grid is sitting here in the year 2014 with extraordinary possibilities of building new energy connections, new energy production, new energy sourcing. If Cape Wind ever gets built in Massachusetts, it can’t sell to anywhere but in the immediate vicinity. You can’t take solar thermal from the four corners of Colorado and New Mexico, et cetera, California, and – if it were being produced – and transport it to Minnesota or to Chicago or cold parts of the winter. You can’t do that because we don’t have the ability to transmit.
Think of the jobs that could be created if we moved in that direction. Think of the competitiveness America that would be created if we began to embrace the possibilities of that economy. Because the economy we’re looking at, the energy economy of the future, is a $6 trillion market with 4 to 5 billion users today, and it’s going to go up to 6 to 9 billion users over the course of the next 50 years. It’s the mother of all markets with the most extraordinary opportunity if we could begin to have a price and – you see solar and you see wind beginning to now on the kilowatt-per-hour basis get closer and closer – we build in some incentives, we could make these decisions if we wanted to.
And so we’re looking at the possibility here of $90 trillion going to be invested in infrastructure, in the world’s cities, in agriculture, in energy systems. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to drive investment into low-carbon growth, which would bring enormous benefits in terms of jobs, health, business. I’ll tell you, having been 30 years in the – almost 30 years in the United States Senate, I saw so many issues cross our plate where they were real tradeoffs, and you struggled to be able to get to a place where you said I could vote for that and survive, and you had enough to be able to say to people why you’re doing it, what their benefit was.
This – this solution to climate change is a win-win-win-win-win if people would stop and really look at it…. Obviously, we would have greater energy independence. We’ve had far greater security. You build up all of the things that would benefit us, not to mention this $6 trillion economy and the jobs that are available to us, and the impact would be absolutely stunning.
On September 30, ASP will host a conference on the future of energy security: What’s Next? Fostering the Next Generation of Energy Security Conference. The conference will have four panels, discussing Natural Gas and LNG, Renewable Transportation, Energy Technology Innovation, and Fusion Energy. The event will commence at 9:00 am and conclude at 4:30 pm.