tv Transportation Secretary Industry Experts on Energy CSPAN July 12, 2021 11:35pm-12:35am EDT
the white house in a bipartisan group of senators announced they reached a deal on infrastructure legislation. up next, transportation secretary pete buttigieg and industry officials discuss infrastructure investment and clean energy initiatives. the bipartisan policy center is the host of this event. good afternoon. friends and family, welcome to this special event. critical infrastructure for a clean energy future. on behalf of the bipartisan policy center and our innovation council, smarter, cleaner, faster task force, delighted to be with you all this afternoon. we have a two-part session today. i had the honor of starting out the discussion with sec. secrety buttigieg and following that, the energyne program as the panl discussion with three experts from the business and labor
community to talk about how to realize this vision of a clean energy transition. so, welcome. hi'm having a hard time kicking the mayor pete habit. thank you for being with us. here i want to talk a little bit about the bipartisan infrastructure plan and talk about the unique role in the energy future and then chat a littleev bit about politics. to get us going, infrastructure investment is the best idea that never happened. it feels like we are pretty close. are we going to get it done? give us a sense of how to pull this off. >> thanks for having me. i think we can get it done.
i think we have to get it done and one of the reasons i am excited to join you is this is rtan actual bipartisan policy coming out of washington. this isn't something thatt we sy very often but we know that there is bipartisan consciousnesss. and that's why e were able to get to the framework and it's encouraging to see the site of the president walking out the door of the right wing saying all the things we ought to do. there are reasons why this hasn't happened yet, why it's turned into a punchline more than oncet in recent years. a lot of the machinery and the sausage making in full swing in
the next few days and weeks but the bottom line is we have arrived at something w that is historic, generational, powerful and the other thing is often bipartisan that has taken the need a smaller but this is incredibly ambitious it was created in the first place investment and public transit we never had at the largest investment of wastewater infrastructure which is like the transportation because it is so important. all of these things happening will be remembered upon once we get across the finish line.
>> you know you are speaking to the home team, right, bold, courageous workable policies animates. let's talk a little bit about where the investments are made and there is a real opportunity to make a disproportionate investment in the disadvantaged communities so just to make it a little more complicated, how do we deal with the fact there's been asymmetry between what the nation needs in terms of infrastructure and what the local communities want next door. how do we create the desire to build in the communities in a way that embraces their economic development aspirations?
people literally can't get connected. but another issue that happened is investment came to a certain area but at a very destructive fashion and that has particularly been true in the history of how the highways came to be where they are thinking often through black and brown neighborhoods either because it was the path of least resistance or economic dynamics of the racial disparities. or theor very direct intent for the main organized groups we've got to recognize the federal dollars set outed to some of the problems but the federal dollars can also be used to solve them and when we do these communities our ambition is to reconnect with those that divided people and a recognition that it will be different.
in some places a higher we willl cut through certain parts of town. but sometimes it isn't as dramatic. there's a lot of different things you can do. i don't think the answers for the most part ought to come from washington and that was my experience where we have a lot of vision for what we do for the community but simply couldn't do it without federal support and that is the steward of that federal support excited about what we have been able to do with discretionary grant programs like intra- and the bill formerly known as tiger that we would be putting out pretty soon. but it would be a whole new level if we had the kind of resourcess that were in this will. >> 's so i should note for these other folks online you can send
messages or the function on youtube. i feel like we have some that have already been asking questions. i will try to integrate some of these as we go. i want to focus on some of the questions now about the scale. we think that there is a fierce urgency for infrastructure. and if we want to achieve the economic development, and i'm sure the word jobs a couple of times on the panel. if we want to address the disadvantaged communities and the rules and probably most importantly, if we want to in 28 years we will have to do things many times faster than we've everny done before. so my question is how can we think about accelerating this innovation and building things fast in a way that respects those broad democratic values?
>> i think in many ways it is a test of our democracy. t we heard the terms about how the question is being called in this decade on whether in authoritarian system is better positioned to deliver for its citizens in concrete ways. fortunately the answer is the democratic approach is better. it's worth remembering. some phrases that were innocuous that phrase entered our vernacular in the 30s when fascism was becoming fashionable in the u.s.
it gives us everything from the functional capacity and the moral authority. awith the democracy comes a lot ofof noise. i heard a fellow mayor describe a volume of input so we need to make sure things can bee legitimately inclusive and at the same time the flow in a swift way and that is largely making sure the process is in a way to not avoid at the last minute. it's not that everybody will agree on everything or on anything unless we do the best job especially those that have been marginalized or cut out
there is very heated debates moving around the margins right now and i think we look at the fact the congress seems to be in this debate about whether they won the limitation on statutes. our fear is we are going to blow by in 30 years so one of the ideas put forth that we think as compelling is the existing right-of-way, thehe electrification and we will talk technology in a minute. what can the dot play an important role to get the claim the power to people, and how do you see that possibly evolving? >> so many of the problems we
face right now are explicitly inter- agency problems and the way that these issues cut across our economy or for that matter, cut across individual families like the family budget are not as silos as they are on the executive branch, so for example, to take up your question, energy and transportation are inextricably linked and will be in -- they will be as the clean power that goes and we are only going to work if we have the support so when we are talking about energy transmission andnd when we are talking about improved water and wastewaterat infrastructure, we will talk about fiber and more broadband connectivity. the idea that if we are going to tear something up to put a road into take care of what else we can around power and around fiber and anything else. it's commonsensical and one thing i'mn proud of in this administration from what i
gathered this is pretty remarkable to what has been done in the past with the level of collaboration that you do see whether it's with the department of energy, labor especially when you consider one of the most efficient things we can do for the transportation perspective is to live in ways they don't need as much transportation with well-designed cities. soti of course, housing and transportation would be together and again, family consider the same time. why shouldn't the federal government. so we are trying to be very intentional about that given that we could have unprecedented amounts of resources with the departments very soon. >> for those folks that have been on the dc trenches, let's talk about the café's standards and the epa and i will note i am
hoping that you can pick this up but a couple of ways to come in frome the media if i can just read these for a second, set to propose new standards for cars orand trucks to what extent will the standards depend on the amount offered for fuel efficiency in the reconciliation bills and at the washington examiner i'm going to ask the question will the administration consider a phaseout date for the gas power car sales similar to others like california? how is that going? >> obviously i can't get ahead of any policy announcements but i do want to say one of the reasons café is important and we need m to make sure that they ae
ambitious standards and the statute by the way tells us, part of why that matters is no matter how, that there are going to be a lot of gas powered cars on the roads for a long time and so there's simply no way to meet the climate goals and i'm saying that as someone that wants to have an a absolute maximum succs and it's especially exciting by the way speaking of bipartisan policies to talk about the opportunity that the vehicles represent in areas that may be are not to the week of mind and where youwe have people driving longer distances which means almost by definition they will save more money. it's part of why we have to make electric vehicles and pickup trucks which is of course ntanother important part. but that's all the same no matter how good we get at that
there is a lot of gas cars on the r road today and there wille even when no gas cars are being sold. the high level of efficiency is going to be so important and there are many times the industry has stepped up when there's b been an ambitious standard and innovation on the part of the industry and it is as straightforward as it possibly can be in that language of the maximum feasible authorization. >> let's talk about all of the tools at your disposal and again the vast challenge. on behalf of the bipartisan policy center, i am not -- there
is probablyy another chilean or 1.5 trillion or vast amounts. i might be off by a trillion. don't get to say that very often. but the question about the role of private capital has come up. private partnerships to demonstrate the capacity. this has been controversial with multiple sides how do you see this in the shared infrastructure? >> what we know is that there is
a lot of cash out there looking for a place to go and if we can globalize that capital to solve public problems and globalize that capital to enhance the infrastructure capacities it's one of the reasons you find that this also is an area of bipartisan tension and what cannot work is to be used as an excuse around labor and environmental and other policy goals. but you look at europe. a lot of countries in europe where nobody can say they are relaxed relative to labor or environmental and other considerations and yet they seem to have been more effective than
we have historically been on getting some of these to deliver the capital so it's why we think. we know the model and as long as we do it in a way that is responsible we will be excited to move forward. there are different agreements and opinions about exactly how much that leverage ratio is and how much you actually get out of the back but the best way to find out is to try it so i'm excited about some of the possibilities. >> we share that enthusiasm and appreciate it. the question from one of the board members, someone that i know you know asks when i was in
congress i was a big proponent. i was pleased to see the bipartisan bill includes 20 billion for finance authority. one of the things about my idea is the flexible product such as volume guarantees and electric vehicle charging stations. the question is how is thenk administration thinking about the financing authority making sure it has all the tools it needs? >> first of all, great to virtually run into you. i know you've done a lot of work on this and part of what we are thinking about isth all the work going on over the years from you and other congressional leaders, think tank leaders and others trying to make sure we build on that in a responsible way and
what features could be put into thego financing mechanisms whetr they go by the name of a infrastructure bank or not. what we know is to create opportunity and get that leverage. we are also in a historically low interest rate environment. so, we need for example an enormous capital need for wastewater. i was shown all kinds of products that help me finance it. iat just needed the money to pay for it.er we need to solve several problems at once and hopefully come up with something that isn't just a product of the times but has enough flexibility in the current interest-rate environment for another kind of value that has changed. >> we have about five minutes left and want to talk about the
politics of the coalition around this idea of the bipartisan policy center working closely with the chamber of commerce to show the strength of that coalition. this is simply to say we have a coalition of about 300 groups that sent a letter to you that says we congratulate the bipartisan groupup of 21 senatos in the administration reaching an agreement and for endorsing the agreement including 579 billion of new spending with a significant investment in the surface transportation and infrastructure for broadband internet and more. the framework is consistent with those built by the coalition. can i point out there are dozens of chambers of commerce, the national wildlife federation, the auto dealers association,
state transportation officials, broad-based groups. but it is still tough. there still needs to be at least ten republican senators and it's going to be a hot and long august recess. i think that a little bit of the affordable care act is starting to percolate a little bit in people's anxiety. so just among friends how is it looking let's say you need a dozen republican senators what is the process of making that happen and what should happen. what can people do to make the case that this is in the interest ofes the national? >> first of all, appreciate the supportive words. i appreciate the fact there is such excitement. not often doo you have republicn and democratic senators in the environmental groups and so many others mayors, governors, excited about what we are
potentially about. as you say, the math is strange. sometimes two plus two equals three around here. you have things that are overwhelmingly popular across every zip code on america except capitol hill. the biggest threat to some decisions that would be politically advantageous but by the same token on the policy capacityty and not a political one. i can't think of a better policy than delivering something to the american people. it's off the charts by a measure of anyt domestic priority devisd in the country and of course we need c it and it's the right thg to do so this is reflected in an extraordinary range of senators that have already signed on. now we've got to get the votes
and i think anybody that has a stake in this, which is everybody has an opportunity now to make your views heard and felt and to be part of this. you are only part of the conversation. we've all got to play the right notes at the right time to get this music to happen and that is the phase we are in especially. it isn't a small thing to turn the outline into an agreement however hard-won and detailed in the legislative text. [inaudible] there's a question of when are we goingis to have it ready. the sooner the better. but keeping that momentum up is the most important. we are thrilled we have the bipartisan deal now but that is a step and we can't let our
energies dip at all in this critical phase. this is a moment we have been waiting for. some people for their entire career and generationally the chance to do something like this. to invoke the other side for example, think about the alternatives and what would it be like for the republican and democratic members to go back to their districts and explain why we couldn't do something, that the vast majority of american business and labor, governors and mayors all said we ought to do. that would be a very difficult thing to explain, so this is the time and it is an exciting one. my hope is that this could build momentum for other things that we have been longing to do for a long time that have been difficult to even impossible based on the twisted law of the
political physics in washington that are sorted out a little bit based on the strength of delivering something big. >> we've often said we think democracy like college basketball [inaudible] i agree we could make this significant accomplishment in the reprocess will open up a lot of possibilities. you said we can't let our energy dip and i know that isn't within your genetic character. you've been the energizer money on this thing and it's made a difference. voicing these issues has been compelling so really appreciate everything you are doing over the next several weeks. on behalf of the several hundred people on the phone here, you have a lot of friends and i guess i look forward to inviting you back in the fall to talk about the accomplishments and some of the details of how we make sure the money gets spent because s i think the final reflection very much is the
insurgency of now. it would be the worst shame is not just passing the bill but passing it and not having the money to solve the problem. we know you are committed to that as well and i appreciate you getting the discussion started for us this morning. >> it's a pleasure to be with you. i would love a chance to circle back this year to reflect on the achievement and then talk about how they make good on it but right now it's the right time for everybody to be part of the solution and help us move forward because our economy and climate and competitiveness, they depend on it and we've got a lot to be proud of. >> thank you again. >> thank you. it is now a pleasure to introduce my friend and colleague from the energy
program to lead the second conversation. sasha, over to you. >> thank you, jason and to sec. buttigieg. that was an excellent discussion on the case for infrastructure package that is both ambitious for the political moment. we have a great panel lined up to add a little color and perspective to the secretary's point. why and how we can and must get this legislation across the line. our panelists are leaders from the labor and business community with expertise and profound stakes in the clean energy transition. the american innovation council is a project that has worked for morea than a decade focusing on the commercial imperatives and the public partnership needed to advance the clean energy revolution that can position the nation's continued economic leadership in the century ahead while delivering enormous environmental benefits in the race to climate change. i'm really excited to have three
of the principles with us today and i will start with short introductions and then jump into the conversation. first we have liz schuller, the ranking member officer and treasurer of afl-cio, the first woman in this position and also the chief financial officer. she has lots of experience on energy issues and initiatives on the clean energy economy, the future ofwo work, workforce development and empowering women and young workers. we also have bob lou, the chairman, president and ceo. before becoming ceo earlier this year, bob was the executive vice president and chief operating officer and president of the dominion energy virginia. he's been a board member on a wide range of community organizations and currently serves on the board of directors at the institute of nuclear power operations. finally, we have toby, the
president and ceo of the largest u.s. national gas producer. ethey made news recently when te announced net to zero scope one and scope to gas emissions in their production segment by or before 2025 which is something i'm sure we will learn a little bit more about today in the conversation. i amn t looking forward to this erconversation and i will start with a couple quick questions for each of you and then we will dive in together. before we do that let me remind the viewers to please submit your questions using the live chat on youtube or facebook or you can use twitter with the hashtag. let's start with you, liz. sec. buttigieg makes a strong case for the infrastructure bill as the key driver of near-term economic growth and the long-term clean energy buildout. what does the labor community think of this opportunity generally end of the bipartisan
infrastructure proposal in particular? >> first of all, let me say thank you and to the team at th bipartisan policy center for bringing us together for this discussion. i absolutelyy love what we just heard from sec. buttigieg. and i should remind folks off the top, the afl-cio is an organization of 12.5 million working people and 56 different unions all across every sector of the economy and they all have an interest in infrastructure policy, so i'm bringing the voices of those workers with me today and we are in full support of the bipartisan infrastructure plan and working very hard right now to get it passed. i know there's some debate about the bipartisan deal whether it goes far enough, but we think that it brings the investment the american people have been waiting for for faree too long s
the secretary said, there was a lot of rhetoric year after year. now it is time to get it done.en we need this investment for so many reasons. the countriesou competitiveness, jobs, equity, public health and to fight climate change, and there's some significant investments in the field including 73 billion for power infrastructure. 15 billion for electric buses. it also has i think 47 billion dedicated to resilience and let me just say we need obviously to think about how we would scan the effects of climate change if you've been paying attention to nethe news it should be obviouse need to invest in resilience. in oregon you probably saw in the news last week they screened
temperatures and every bit of it tied in some way to climate change and those systems were not designed for the extreme and there were power cables mentioned. for the environmental remediation, broadband, transit, these are significant climate equities and economic justice benefits and the jobs that will be created, i can't even count the time i say the word job, these are important wins for the american people but to tie the knot i want to be clear we need the rest of the american jobs planes and the american families plan to pass the reconciliation so we are mobilizing our members on the ground now to push for that because the social
infrastructure is needed now more than ever as we see it is woefully inadequate and we need to make those investments that are having a huge impact on working families. >> i can feel your enthusiasm through the video. bob, let's turn to you next. it is the linchpin of the economy and has been a leader investing in vehicle expectation and offshore wind. how do you see these priorities positioning for the energy and how would the new infrastructure package support your plan? >> good afternoon, sasha, thanks to you and jason and the bipartisan policy center for allowing me to participate on the panel today. great to be here to talk about some of these issues. obviously our industry is at the center of much of what is going on in terms of decarbonization.
the electric utility industry and i should say for electric and natural gas companies, state regulated, we deliver electricity and natural gas to 7 million homes and businesses from the rocky mountains to the state of virginia. and so, that business is very much part of this decarbonization narrative that we have been talking about and for us, we start with a commitment by 2050. our industry, the electric industry has reduced its carbon emissions since 2005 our company has done better, 50% since 2005. we expect to get there by 2050 that will take a substantial amount of investment starting with an increased investment in renewables. we are building the largest offshore wind farm off the coast
27 miles off the coast of virginia beach, 2.6 gigawatts project that will serve 650,000 homes and businesses when it is complete by the end of 2026.20 it's that kind of investment and wind and solar, and by the way, continuing operating our nuclear facilities which are the only baseload dominating sources of electricat generation's that ext today. that's going to allow us to meet that goal. there's going to be a lot more that we have to do besides investing in renewables. we are going to need to upgrade our grid to substantially as well and you've heard some conversations about that already. and then we also believe that we can help and we are going to be criticalg to continue expansion of electric vehicles. you heard the secretary talk about that. we are part of a coalitionwe of companies in the southeast and
midwest to creating a seamless fast charging network so that companies and individuals can be able to move across states easily and charge and we are also focused on the charging infrastructure specifically in our virginia service territory. we have a pilot project called a smart charging where we are going to be providing rebates for multi family housing for workplace charging as well as building our first company-owned dc fast charging station so all of this we think will allow us to help d carbonized the electric sectore which today produces the most greenhouse gas emissions of any sector of the economy so we think this will all allow us to help move forward with this transition.
in many respects, natural gas is at the crossroads of the energy transition. for years it's been viewed as a transition fuel. still a fossil fuel with greenhouse gas implications. as the largest gas producer in the country, how do you see them fitting in with a net zero carbon world? >> [inaudible] i think it was great to hear sec. buttigieg talk about the infrastructure and [inaudible] i'm really sorry to see that we are having bandwidth challenges.
i don't know if maybe we can get him back in a second or two but while he works that out, why don't i kind of see if we can circle back to a theme both bob and liz each brought up which is the intersection of labor and clean energy and it's notable to me that they are building the first offshore wind industry and i guess my first question to both of you is it seems like a really big deal and i'm wondering what other innovations are needed to realize the potential of offshore wind? >> i will jump in if that's all right. it certainly seems like infrastructure to me and all of what we are talking about in terms of adding we renewables in blthe transition and we have discussed this in forums like
this before, opportunities we believe to create good high-paying jobs here in the united states, so take our offshore wind vessel which is being constructed in texas. that is a thousand jobs associated in that project and the supply chain opportunities are substantial so i have been to have an opportunity a couple of weeks ago to be with secretary granholm andnd west virginia and they discussed clean energy centered on the fact that the steel for our ships some of it is coming from west virginia so the supply chain beyond the specific projects i think presents great opportunities and i should say the offshore wind farm we are building we have announced we
are going to do with project labor agreements with all of the components that we think are possible to do and we have been in conversations with liz and her colleagues on that so fundamentally, whether that is infrastructure or not, it is jobs there's no doubt about that and it's going to enable quite a bit of infrastructure up and down the east coast so we think that is a great opportunity for clean energy and it's a great opportunity for the american economy. >> yes, absolutely i would agree 100%. it is a big deal that it's first to commission that the shift but i would say it's not surprising because dominion is the one whoo stepped up because they have always had good labor relations and they can see the value of what this would mean to the industry and i just want to
thank bob for his leadership because he sees that investing in a highly skilled and highly trained union workforce is a value add and smart business decision but i would say the offshore wind industry is a top example and bob eluded to this of how the labor and management can work together to create a highroad strategy for there ente sector so that this promise that we hold of a clean energy future is actually growing good jobs and is benefiting everyone. as far as investments needed, you asked about investments, innovations to scale up offshore wind, the big need right now is to leverage the pipeline of projects that are on the horizon and translate that into the production of a major component in the united states and again bob pointed to this as well, we
are way beyond the volume needed. beyond that, we seem to be in better shape but the need here to remember that's very specific to offshore wind, the turbines are so massive that if we can produce the major components here in the united states, the bill for the material is stupendous. it's literally hundreds of tons of field and copper and specialty metals and that is why the supply chain for offshore wind can be such an engine for economic growthh for our countr.
lowering the emissions and what took place in 2007 to 2020 increased the natural gas demand and consumption by 20%. that also allowed us to increase the share of renewables by 10% and during that period of time it's declined by 20% so the point is the more natural gas we use the more opportunities are going to be the key to lowering emissions. this creates a phasing opportunityy for us.
that would translate to an increase of the potential natural gas demand. that is something they are prepared to do and shown the ability to meet the needs. tremendous opportunity and you step back and look at the power grid that's the equivalent of an incremental 175 natural gas demand. this would have the impact of both cutting emissions in the power grid. for things that can scale and
natural gas certainly has a track record of doing that. toto provide a low-cost form of energy we think one thing that is special about natural gas is the fact that it's a hydrocarbon that can be transformed into a d carbonized form of energy and we are talking about using natural gas to produce hydrogen and compared with those that are depleted can serve so not only do we have a low-cost form of naturalnl gas.
>> it's good y to hear you loud and clear even if we can't see you. you can ask questions on the chat or through twitter as a hashtag. before i turned to those i will ask liz to build on that question. i know they are also deeply involved in these and was wondering what your views are with respect to industrial emissions and a healthy and competitive manufacturing sector how does it to d carbonized that part? >> i will say that it's very bullish on natural gas.
whether it's production, transmission, eliminating the methane. for the natural gas sector, gas can be used for both industry and electricity generation and such such as the iea and say that we need to meet the climate goal and we are also forced for the blue hydrogen. we've been in this partnership was is a joint effort between the afl-cio we believe that this
is a future that we get to decide how fast we move and we set the targets out there but the industry definitely has its challenges in terms of how we get there with the timetables that have been set out. but we know it is going to be a heavy lift. we can get there but certainly we think and all of the above strategies how we get there and that includes natural gas. one question that will be directed to bob what is the role of renewable natural gas in the transition and can it be scaled? do you have a view on that?
>> i do and the answer is renewable natural gas can play an important role and scaled. it is a negative because of methane versus the system and goes to the customers. whether it can be scaled to a level that we are talking about to serve the natural gas needs it's a pretty small amount. but it's incredibly important and so i think we should not forget as we think about our policies moving forward that in a lot of small efforts they can add up collectively to substantial changes. so we can scale up more than we have today. the company is very interested
in doing that, and we think it has an important role to play in achieving net zero for the economy. >> [inaudible] one of the largest renewable gas businesses in the country so one of the biggest issues mentioned about is great. we have seen a potential of renewableas gas when you compar, the 95 towards natural gas shows the difficulties there. we don't believe it has the
scale so what we are doing is pioneering what we think is a scalable solution pioneering the work with responsibly sourced gas and the production with the lowest form of emissions and everything mentioned about theiz methane emissions one thing that is exciting is produced along with our peers we are producing the levels that are the lowest not only in the country but around the world, so we have a great source of clean gas here in the united states. the utility customers are confident that they have their
alternatives to show that they arena getting gas that is produd as cleanly as possible. >> [inaudible] are the welcome and we will getm all as fast as we can. we are in the last few minutes here of the conversation so we need to be brief and the question but with a focus we are quite optimistic about the chances for this bipartisan package to make it across the finish line and get to the president's desk. there's going to be a lot to love and things people won't like but what i'm wondering here is do you all agree that this is possible and that we should get it done? we will start with you. >> absolutely, we believe it and it's going to be critical to get it done. we think we can get it done and as it was said earlier the
secretary himself said to the americanve people want infrastructure investment. this is the most popular piece of legislation we have a bipartisan proposal right in front of o us. this is a win. it is ready to go. we should make it happen. there's so much here to look forward to. as the labor movement went have infrastructure in the real world out across the country. on thein workplaces, ground. that's what we are doing right now is making it our mission to mobilize, educate and activate people and communities who know that the projects are actually going to bring good jobs. ..
looking for sustainable jobs and energy to meet all the energy demands climate issues in front of us. >> weli have to leave it there for now. great discussion thank you for taking the time to share your perspectives with us we are super grateful to spend your time with us today and we do look forward to talking to you in the fall how implement the agenda for the for your time to today
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