Manchin Raises Concerns Over Rising Energy Prices, Reiterates Call To Pursue Innovative Energy Solutions

November 16, 2021

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine the causes, outlook, and implications of domestic and international energy price trends. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, raised concerns over the recent rise in energy prices affecting everyday Americans.

“Prices are rapidly rising across gasoline, diesel, heating oil, natural gas, electricity and even coal… This is in stark contrast to prices that bottomed out during the pandemic as economies around the globe slowed. But, now as our economies are rebounding, we’re seeing soaring gasoline prices and heating bills are expected to go up 10, 20, 30 or even 40% in the coming months according to the Energy Information Administration’s winter outlook. This is impacting all of our constituents. In fact, the consumer price index for energy has increased by 30% over the last 12 months. Affordable, reliable, and dependable energy is part of what made us a superpower, and it’s critical that we maintain that and keep these prices under control,” Chairman Manchin said.

Mr. Tim Gould, Chief Energy Economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA), stressed the need to boost deployment of innovative clean energy technologies, an opportunity he believes that the United States is uniquely positioned to lead on and one that would alleviate energy price volatility.

“Worldwide investment in clean energy transitions has not risen fast enough to pick up the slack and to put us on a safer and cleaner pathway. So, stepping up investment in a wide range of clean energy technologies and infrastructure is essential in our view, if we are to meet tomorrow’s energy demands while also bringing down emissions. This will bring enormous opportunities for growth and employment for countries that are well-positioned in this new energy economy and the IEA considers the United States to be exceptionally well-positioned, both because of its industrial potential but also the huge scientific and innovation that the United States brings to the picture,” said Mr. Gould.

During the hearing, Chairman Manchin questioned Mr. Gould on the opportunities for increased global collaboration in developing and deploying innovative technologies, such as carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS).

“Mr. Gould, if I could ask you this, I think IEA’s position has always been, basically, that the best thing we can do for climate right now is to rapidly develop CCUS, as a valued waste product, [because by doing so] we could help the climate more by realizing there’s going to be more fossil that will continue to be relied on than any other time… And I think IEA leading that charge and challenging us to finally come together and agree with all the other fossil dependent countries to find a solution for CCUS. Any comment on that?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“The Chinese President has just said that China will no longer finance coal plants abroad. But that still leaves, as you rightly say, more than 2,000 gigawatts of existing coal fired capacity. And if that coal fired capacity continues to operate unabated according to its normal operating lifetime, that is half of the remaining carbon budget for a 1.5-degree stabilization, just disappearing, just on that one item. So, it’s essential that we find solutions, and I completely agree that the U in CCUS is one with which is an increasing focus for many organizations around the world. And there are yet to be any large-scale applications that would seem to offer a large scale solution, but it’s an area where we will be very happy to take up the baton as well,” replied Mr. Gould.

Chairman Manchin also questioned witnesses on whether there was a correlation between increased U.S. LNG exports and rising domestic energy prices.

The hearing featured testimony from Mr. Stephen Nalley, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration; Mr. Tim Gould, Chief Energy Economist of the International Energy Agency; and Mr. Robert Bryce, author, journalist, podcaster, and film producer. To read their testimony click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.