During the Finance Committee’s markup, Portman touts a comprehensive energy strategy, legislation to promote carbon capture and energy efficiency
May 26, 2021
WASHINGTON DC – During a markup by the Senate Finance Committee today, US Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) gave an opening speech stressing the importance of a comprehensive energy strategy and praising his bipartisan efforts to promote common sense energy policy. Portman highlighted his work to increase energy efficiency, as well as his Carbon Capture Improvement Act, bipartisan legislation that aims to facilitate the financing of power plants and industrial facilities for the purchase and installation of carbon capture equipment and direct air capture via private activity obligations.
A transcript of his remarks is below and a video can be found here:
“Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you for making us happy because we‘I have so many things going on at the same time this afternoon. I support, like many of us, a comprehensive approach to energy policy. And there‘a reason for it. He‘It’s important that we have a different mix of energy sources for our energy portfolio, for our economy, and that includes fossil fuels, but that also includes nuclear and renewables. Ohio is a classic example.
“We still have 41% coal. Probably less than 41%. By the time I finish speaking, natural gas has replaced a lot of our electricity with coal. Natural gas accounts for about 42 percent. Renewable energy, 2.7 percent, including hydroelectricity on the Ohio River. Solar, wind and nuclear power, which accounts for up to 13% in Ohio. So we have everything. We also have a strong energy development and manufacturing sector that supports – and is supported by – these energy industries. We will continue to need this diverse energy portfolio, which includes fossil fuels, in my opinion, to help keep costs down and have reliable power and to ensure the reliability of our grid as we work to a cleaner energy economy.
“However, this approach does not mean that we have an increase in emissions. In fact, we have had a reduction in emissions. As you know, since 2005 our national emissions have dropped by 10%. Specifically, emissions from the electricity sector fell by 27%. It is quite amazing. And it’s really about the natural gas revolution that we’ve seen in Ohio and elsewhere. During that time our country grew rapidly, by the way, and yet we had these numbers and we also experienced rapid growth in our domestic energy production, especially natural gas.
“Working on solutions to help reduce our emissions while supporting the economy is an important conversation. I am afraid she is not bipartisan today. I have been able to work with many of my colleagues across the aisle, and on our side of the aisle, to present energy bills, some of which are actually within the purview of this committee. One example is the bill that Senator Michael Bennet and I have introduced for several conventions now. We are about to do it. It’s a smart thing. It’s about using private activity bonds, which brings in much more private sector funding. And that would help finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture and sequestration. Which again, using fossil fuels but capturing that carbon. And now we have added direct air capture equipment given the technological improvements that are being made to it.
“I understand, the moment I walked in here, that this is included in the president’s mark. If that’s true, Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I didn’t know it, but I think it makes sense. And I think that’s an area where we should be able to find a way forward. We did that, by the way, with scrubbers in the 1970s using private activity bonds, and I think that should be used for those bonds. I also have the Linear Generator Parity Act with Senator Brown. This is a specific technical correction to allow high efficiency linear generators to access an investment tax credit.
“And again, I understand from Senator Brown that this was also included in the bill today. I think it is appropriate. Again, small change, but important to keep up with the technologies. Other bipartisan bills I have worked on to help improve emissions and the environment while creating jobs include our energy efficiency legislation with Senator Shaheen. As I said to the chairman, this is not about tax incentives. We never focused on the tax aspect. Instead, we focused on other incentives, but no mandate.
“And that’s quite significant in that it would save consumers about $ 51 billion on energy bills through greater efficiency, but also reduce carbon emissions by about 1.3 billion dollars.” billion tonnes and add more than 100,000 jobs to the economy. All without putting new mandates in the private sector. This bill has already been passed in the Senate. It was not passed in the House the last time it was passed by the Senate, and parts of it have been enacted, but there is still a long way to go in this regard.
“So I hope, Mr. Chairman, that we will have a lively discussion today on these different approaches. But in the end, find a way to come together on some of these ideas that make sense for jobs and the economy, but also for reducing emissions and helping the environment. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.