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Architecture of Abundance Pillar I: Modernizing America’s Distribution Infrastructure


08.11.14

CEA Identifies America’s Most Wanted Energy Infrastructure Projects 

Thanks to innovation and new technologies, America has experienced a dramatic growth in energy production over the last decade. But we have yet to fully realize the benefits of this new abundance of energy resources because we lack adequate infrastructure to transport our growing energy supplies to the markets and consumers who need them. Building this distribution infrastructure – more pipelines and transmission lines – is a fundamental pillar of the Architecture of Abundance.

The Consumer Energy Alliance recently identified the energy infrastructure projects that are needed most in the United States that today. While the Keystone XL pipeline may be the most well known of these projects, each one is just as critical and necessary to ensuring Americans have continued access to affordable and reliable energy. More interstate natural gas pipelines are needed to help bring relief from high heating bills in New England during the cold winter months and to support the nation’s increased electricity generation from gas, especially as more coal plants are forced to convert due to new EPA regulations. Highlighting Florida’s power predicament, CEA reports, “Over 68 percent of Florida’s electricity is generated by natural gas, yet there are only two major pipelines that provide natural gas to Central and South Florida. Coal currently provides nearly 21 percent of Florida’s energy, and natural gas will play an increasingly important role in the state’s energy plan as coal-fired plants continue to close due to increasing regulation by the EPA.”

Our country is also in need of more transmission lines to transport power generated from new renewable energy sources. According to CEA, “Wind and hydroelectric energy are quickly becoming viable sources of power for large demand centers like the Midwest and New England. Not enough transmission projects currently exist to effectively deliver power to these areas, but this may soon change: at least five major projects have been proposed to move Canadian hydroelectric power across the border to New England and Clean Line Energy Partners has announced that it wants to spend $2.2 billion to move wind energy generated in Kansas east toward Indiana through a 750-mile-long voltage overhead transmission line.”

While these new infrastructure projects are needed to deliver affordable energy, they are also needed to deliver more U.S. jobs and economic growth. A new study from Texas Tech University reports that pipeline construction supported more than 165,000 jobs in the state of Texas alone last year. The study anticipates continued growth in pipeline construction to support the state’s shale energy boom. The San Antonio Business Journal reports, “From 2014-2024, the industry is expected to contribute more than $374 billion in total economic output and sustain 171,000 jobs annually in Texas, according to the study. It’s also expected to generate $212 billion in gross state product and $19.5 billion state and local government revenues.”

The Energy and Commerce Committee is working to make it easier construct these job-creating energy infrastructure projects, so we can build on our energy successes and realize our full energy potential. The House has already passed a number of bipartisan committee bills to cut federal red tape blocking construction of pipelines and transmission lines and to hold federal agencies accountable to deadlines during the permitting process. We passed H.R. 3 to end the administration’s delay in approving the Keystone XL pipeline. We passed H.R. 1900 to reform permitting for interstate natural gas pipelines. And we passed H.R. 3301 to establish a clear and efficient approval process for pipelines and transmission lines that cross the borders of the United States with Canada or Mexico. All these bills were passed with bipartisan support and help advance efforts to build the Architecture of Abundance. It is time for the Senate to follow our lead and take up these bipartisan solutions. To learn more about this new visionary plan to say #Yes2Energy, visit: /yes2energy.

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