Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm suggested that solar panels and wind farms could be the key to ensuring world peace in the future.
Solar, wind and other renewable sources would be key for the U.S. and its European allies to have energy security, Granholm said during her remarks at the U.S.-EU Energy Ministerial hosted by the State Department on Monday. The energy secretary added that fossil fuel dependence puts the West at greater risk of volatile energy prices.
“High energy prices have been putting strains on households on both sides of the Atlantic,” Granholm remarked. “In Europe, you have seen prices go through the roof. Of course, tensions between Russia and Ukraine pose threats to the energy security of the European Union, our friends and partners.”
“All of this underscores the benefits of clean energy,” she continued. “I was at a ministerial last week and my counterpart in Ireland, Minister Ryan, said words that I thought were very interesting. No country has been held hostage to access to the sun. No country has been hostage to the wind. This is not just an energy and climate issue, it is also potentially the greatest peace plan that ever existed.”
Granholm, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and their EU counterparts discussed a range of issues at the ministerial including global net zero ambitions and clean energy investment, according to a joint statement issued by the U.S. and EU on Monday. But the meeting also focused on the European energy crisis in part caused by Russia’s decision to cut off natural gas supplies as the weather got cold over the last several months.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has stood by his decision to support Nord Stream 2, a direct Russia-to-Germany pipeline that would tether EU natural gas supply to a Russian state-run energy firm. The president said Nord Stream 2 would be killed only if Russian troops invaded Ukraine, following a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House on Monday.
“Energy security is tied directly to national security, regional security, global security,” Blinken said during a news conference. “Europe needs reliable and affordable energy, especially in the winter months.”
“When Russia halted gas supplies to Europe over a dispute with Ukraine in 2009, people died from the cold. And when energy supplies fail, economies falter,” he added.
On Jan. 25, the White House announced it would help facilitate greater non-Russian natural gas flows into Europe amid the increasing tensions on the Ukrainian border. Such imports would come from North Africa, the U.S., Middle East and Asia.
Biden has pushed renewable energy alternatives, including solar and wind projects, aggressively since taking office in 2021. The White House has outlined plans to ensure the entire U.S. grid is carbon-free by 2035 and the economy reaches net zero emissions by 2050.
The Biden administration has also waged a war on traditional energy production, nixing the Keystone XL pipeline, ditching an oil drilling project in Alaska and confirming it would review the possibility of shutting down a Michigan pipeline supplying much of the Midwest.
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