House Republicans, 19 states demand action on energy crisis and high prices

By Thomas Catenacci

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee urged the Biden administration to lay out its plans for tackling the looming energy crisis.

The representatives noted that the federal government was responsible for protecting U.S. energy security and ensuring Americans have access to affordable energy, in a letter Thursday addressed to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. They added that energy prices are directly tied to particular sectors of the economy and could further push inflation higher.

“With predictions of a colder than usual winter this year, we want to understand as soon as possible what actions you and the Department are taking to prepare for what could be a perfect storm of a cold winter, high and unaffordable energy prices, and supply disruptions,” the 22 House Republicans wrote to Granholm.

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Oil and natural gas prices have skyrocketed worldwide, which experts have blamed on supply chain shortfalls, governments’ rapid shift to renewables and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ decision not to boost production.

Oil and natural gas prices have skyrocketed worldwide, which experts have blamed on supply chain shortfalls, governments’ rapid shift to renewables and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ decision not to boost production. While the White House has downplayed the price surges, President Joe Biden reportedly contacted oil industry leaders in a plea for help as the winter quickly approaches.

Granholm hinted last week that the government may tap into its large emergency oil reserves, Reuters reported.

The federal government predicted this week that heating costs will jump as much as 54% this winter. If the average temperature is 10% colder than expected, those prices could see a 94% increase, the Energy Information Administration report showed.

The average price of gasoline, meanwhile, increased to $3.31 per gallon Friday, a more than 50% jump year-over-year, according to AAA data.

“While we understand that global supply chain disruptions and demand shocks related to the COVID-19 pandemic have influenced domestic prices, we are deeply concerned that the Administration’s anti-fossil fuel agenda is significantly contributing to higher bills for American families and businesses,” the GOP representatives continued.

The Biden administration has rolled out a series of policies to combat climate change which the Republicans said may contribute to higher prices.

Immediately after taking office, the president nixed the federal permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, opened the door for sweeping regulation on large swaths of the economy that produce emissions and banned all oil and gas leasing on federal lands. The moves all received significant pushback from states.

The White House has separately announced goals of cutting emissions 50% by 2030, ensuring 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The administration has also pushed for 50% of vehicles purchased in 2030 to be electric, announced the U.S. would double its financial commitment to international climate efforts and unveiled a plan to build seven wind farms around the country.

The Energy and Commerce Republicans asked that the secretary respond by Oct. 21 to answer their questions.

19 States Urge Congress To Reject Policies That Would Cause Higher Energy Prices

A 19-state coalition urged Congress to reject a proposed methane fee that would punish producers as energy prices continue to surge.

The legislation would cost consumers $14.4 billion and could jeopardize up to 155,000 jobs, the states led by West Virginia wrote in a letter to Senate leaders Thursday, citing a study from the American Petroleum Institute. It was first introduced in the Methane Emissions Reduction Act — unveiled by Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in March — which proposed to charge oil and gas suppliers $1,800 per metric ton of methane emitted beyond a certain threshold.

A similar fee, reduced to $1,500 per metric ton, was included in Democrats’ sweeping reconciliation package making its way through the House. The fee would be applied to emissions of a set intensity and to facilities that produce more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

“The proposed tax is neither necessary nor appropriate,” the states’ attorneys general wrote. “We support reasonable and lawful measures to reduce methane emissions. But a de facto tax administered through an onerous administrative regime is not that.”

“We urge you to reject any methane tax and save American energy consumers from ever more painful price increases,” they continued.

The attorneys general implored the leaders to focus on encouraging affordable energy solutions rather than policies that could threaten American jobs and increase consumer costs.

U.S. heating costs are expected to jump as much as 54% this winter, according to a report Wednesday from the Energy Information Administration. The average price of gasoline increased to $3.30 per gallon Thursday, a more than 50% jump year-over-year, AAA data showed.

“These soaring prices will add to the steep amounts—the highest since 2014—that Americans are paying at the pump,” the attorneys general stated. “And all these price jumps come after a COVID-19 pandemic that caused utility arrearages to reach record levels. In short, Americans are hurting.”

The letter was addressed to the Democratic and Republican leaders on the Senate Environment and Energy Committees.

Dozens of oil and gas industry groups, including the American Petroleum Institute, Independent Petroleum Association of America and American Gas Association (AGA), all lined up against the proposed methane fee. The provision would “raise costs for customers, creating a burden that will fall most heavily on lower-income Americans,” the AGA wrote in a letter signed by nearly 30 other groups.

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4 thoughts on “House Republicans, 19 states demand action on energy crisis and high prices

  1. If they really wanted renewables, they would be pushing systems that can be installed on homes without spending billions. Learn to read the BS.

  2. Europe is seeing major increases in the SPOT prices of gas/1000 m3, coal/metric ton, and oil/barrel.
    This will have an adverse effect on prices at the pump, etc. The price increases happened due to several reasons.

    EXCERPTS FROM:

    HAVING FUN WATCHING WIND AND SOLAR FAILING TO STEP UP TO POWER THE WORLD ECONOMY
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/having-fun-watching-wind-and-solar-failing-to-step-up-to-power/edit

    REASONS FOR SPOT PRICE INCREASES

    1) EU bureaucrats had urged EU countries not to sign long-term gas supply contracts with Russia, because electricity from wind, solar, etc., would increase, and signing long-term contracts would “send the wrong signal”, plus it would give “evil” Russia more clout in EU energy markets.

    2) However, EU bureaucrats did not take into account the vagaries of wind and solar. In that regard, they are far from unique.
    From April, 2020, to the present, there has been significantly less wind than in prior years.

    Even though more onshore and offshore wind turbine capacity, MW, was installed in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, that did not result in as much of an increase in wind electricity as predicted, due to less than average winds.

    3) As a result, the shortfall of wind electricity had to be made up by burning more gas and coal, which rapidly increased SPOT prices of gas to $40/million Btu, and also increased the SPOT prices of coal.

    4) Then, people became aware, the EU winter storage of gas was very low, compared to prior years, which meant energy markets began to bid up the SPOT prices of gas for future, i.e., winter, delivery.

    5) At first, EU bureaucrats tried to hide their lack of planning ability, and blame the shortfalls on market manipulation by Russia.
    However, Russia proved, with gas system operating data, it had been transmitting gas to the EU, IN EXCESS of long-term contract requirements; in case of Ukraine, the excess transmission was 10%. Various EU countries, that receive a steady supply of low-cost gas from Russia, chimed in to support Russia.

    BTW, had the Ukraine gas transmission been any quantity less than per contract, Ukraine would have cried “Russia is using gas as a weapon” to its EU, US, and NATO protectors.

    BIDEN’s 30,000 MW OF OFFSHORE WIND SYSTEMS

    Biden’s OFFSHORE wind systems, will have an adverse, long-term impact on US electricity wholesale prices.

    The Biden administration announced on October 13, 2021, it will subsidize the development of up to seven offshore wind systems (never call them farms) on the US East and West coasts, and in the Gulf of Mexico; a total of about 30,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030.

    All systems would have 800-ft-tall wind turbines, which would need to be located at least 30 miles from shores, to ensure minimal disturbance of night-time strobe lights.

    Any commercial fishing areas would be significantly impacted by below-water infrastructures and cables.

    Total production would be about 30,000 x 8766 h/y x 0.45, capacity factor = 118,341,000 MWh, or 118.3 TWh, which is about 100 x 118.3/4000 = 2.96% of all generation loaded onto US grids. That load would increase due to many millions of future electric vehicles and heat pumps.

    The turnkey capital cost for wind systems and grid extension would be 30,000 MW x $5,000,000/MW = $150 BILLION; Biden’s inflation rates may increase that cost.

    The all-in wholesale price of the offshore electricity would be about 18 c/kWh, without cost shifting and subsidies, and about 9 c/kWh, with cost shifting and subsidies. This compares with the average New England wholesale price of 5 c/kWh, during the 2009 to present period.

    Cost shifting and subsidies did not materially affect this price, because the percent of new RE (mostly wind and solar) on the NE grid is very small, after 20 years of subsidies. See URLs

    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-provide-50-percent-of-future-new-england
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar

    BENEFITS TO EU COMPANIES

    Almost the entire physical supply of the offshore wind systems would be provided by EU companies, because they have the required expertise and the domestic onshore and seagoing facilities, due to building at least 25,014 MW (end 2020) of offshore systems, during the past 35 years.

    Duplicating the EU onshore and seagoing facilities in the US, PLUS implementing 30,000 MW of offshore wind systems in less than 8 years, 2022 to 2030, would be totally impossible.
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

  3. the tater head’s teleprompter told him to take the big oil folks, he back stabbed right off the bat, out behind the barn and demand they cut their profit so he don’t look
    like the ijit he is and save the oil prices… Time to hold him hostage and say open up the fed lands to drilling and reinstate the oil pipe line or you get nuttin….pudding head.. some day he may figure out greenie weenieism and low oil prices don’t mesh..
    meanwhile the transportation sec buttigeg is out for 2 months vaca ’cause him and the misses him had a baby or two…. selection of cabinet by gender/color/pronoun instead of experience will get you the situation we’re in..also fraud elections..

  4. Insofar as the results we are seeing from Biden’s programs were entirely predictable and had many times been predicted I find it impossible to imagine that those results were not the intended outcome. How was Biden to fulfil the “reduce consumption of fossil fuels” pledge but by making its use unaffordable? The burden, like inflation, falls most heavily upon those least able to bear it which, insofar as it increases their dependence on government, is part of the program. The ones upon whom Biden’s tax increase would not fall.

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