The Future of Energy Policy and Utility Infrastructure: Part 2
What’s the future of our country’s aging energy and water infrastructure? President Trump’s infrastructure plan, as outlined in his 2018 State of the Union address, is being hotly debated in political circles, but how this plan might affect utilities is unclear. In part 2 of our 3-part series (read part 1 here), we look at how infrastructure policy may change.
Offering a view from different policy, technology, and environmental vantages, speakers at last year’s AclaraConnect conference provided a glimpse of policy priorities for the future.
Join Us at #AclaraConnect 2018
Speaking for the current administration, Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research and head of the Trump transition coordination with the Department of Energy, promoted easing regulations and streamlining rules.
“Energy is a critical part of the administration’s (infrastructure) agenda,” said Pyle, “The area of permit streamlining and regulatory reform, especially in the energy space, will be an important nexus in the infrastructure agenda.”
Weighing in on the energy infrastructure agenda, Elgie Holstein, currently senior director for the Environmental Defense Fund and a member of the Obama administration, added,“I give the President Trump points for political leadership on infrastructure, because it’s so darn hard to do.”
Holstein also noted “I don’t have a problem with regulatory and permitting reform … there are ways to work with (environmental) statutes that bring about actual reform and speed up the permitting process, without undermining the original purposes of these laws.”
The intersection of infrastructure policy and technology also was a core topic on which the two senior energy and environmental leaders on the policy panel found common ground.
“In my home state of New JerseyJ there are 5,000 miles of decaying iron natural gas pipes,” explained Holstein. “That’s the kind of infrastructure policy initiatives we should address … bringing older systems up to speed.”
Asked about pipes, Pyle said “There’s no doubt that if you’re going to build pipes we’ve got to use the best technology available. No one wants to forgo these opportunities.”