Jul
04
2017

Energy and Freedom

Happy 4th of July from just outside our nation’s capital! And, welcome to my inaugural blog for the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy. It’s a great honor to continue PACE’s tradition of open, inclusive dialogue about energy policy. Over the coming years, I hope the words and images that appear in this space will spark even more questions, comments, and ideas that PACE can share with a wide universe of energy stakeholders and policymakers.

Energy and freedom go together like the 4th of July and fireworks. It seemed like a fantastic first blog theme as I sat with my laptop beside the pool at my daughter’s 4th of July early morning swim meet, grateful for the energy that comes from caffeine.

Initially, when I googled the terms and saw how many hundreds of websites, advocacy organizations, industry spokespeople and cultural institutions (even the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a creative spring campaign based on energy and freedom) have opined over the years on the links between energy and freedom, I thought twice about writing on the connection between energy and freedom. In the end, I decided it was critical to make a few observations and, as it were, to plant a few flags on the subject.

  • Our nation’s energy infrastructure and the rich history of its development are a source of national pride. Americans worked together for decades on the technology, business structures, and policies that allow electricity and fuels to flow freely to almost every corner of our large and diverse country.
  • America’s leadership in the world depends on a strong, stable energy economy at home.  Today’s international crises sometimes seem insurmountable, but it’s heartening to reflect back on this 4th of July at the enormous energy Americans have contributed to pushing back on totalitarianism across the past century. Energy helped create the fighting forces, the educated diplomats, and the inspired peacekeepers that have gotten the world farther away from encroaching darkness time and time again.
  • Low, stable energy prices and consistent delivery of energy help liberate American consumers and businesses from worry. Major employers, the U.S government, individuals, and everyone in between benefit when energy costs absorb less precious revenue, and there’s a comfort that unexplained price hikes aren’t just around the corner. In a state of less worry about energy costs, consumers and businesses are more likely to seek out and embrace innovation in their energy mix.
  • American innovation can help continue our nation’s energy success story and secure its advantages for even more of our citizens. And, as innovation sparks changes in energy infrastructure and policy, the American traditions of public debate, rhetoric, and civil decision-making will help our country come to the right decisions.

For further inspiration, I’d like to share two quotes from American icons that are in keeping with PACE’s tradition of engagement. One is a statement of hope, while the other strikes a cautionary note. PACE’s goal has always been to encourage persistence in meeting the needs of America’s energy future and to urge policy makers to tackle energy policy challenges head on. Talking about our challenges and the solutions, instead of talking around them, has been a hallmark of PACE’s advocacy from Day One.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.” – Henry Ford

Happy 4th of July!  Amid the food, fireworks and fun, please take a minute to appreciate the men and women who help make our celebrations possible and enjoyable for all, from our military, to local government officials, and energy workers out in the field.  After the holiday, come back often to PACE on this website, Twitter, and Facebook to continue a great American discussion of how we can all work together to maintain and grow our nation’s energy and freedom.