Although the United States has massive resources of oil and natural gas, Americans now face energy scarcity, an electric grid that is less reliable, and shortages of natural gas and oil—all of which have imposed higher prices on consumers and the economy.
Worse, none of this had to happen. This is an entirely avoidable reversal of America’s energy renaissance, which began in the first decade of the 2000s. It transformed the United States from a net energy importer (of oil and natural gas) into an energy-independent and then energy-dominant state.
The next Republican administration will surely start using our nation’s abundant resources to provide people with more affordable energy. This means repairing the damage done in the past couple of years and making America a place where energy companies want to do business.
Rather than encourage energy companies to take advantage of this abundance, the Biden administration has focused on renewable energy, made with components imported primarily from China. The Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must change course through a new set of policies.
In the name of combating climate change, trillions of taxpayer dollars have been (or will be) funneled to renewable energy and electric vehicles. Companies are subsidized to manufacture these products, and consumers are subsidized to buy them. Despite the subsidies, these expenditures increase people’s energy costs, make businesses less competitive, and increase America’s dependence on China.
The Biden administration, either directly or in conjunction with banks, Wall Street investment-management firms, and other institutional investors, is influencing the flow of capital to energy projects in a way designed to discourage investment in the fossil-fuel sector. But government control of energy is control of people and the economy. This is one reason why the trend toward the de facto nationalization of our energy industry through government mandates, the restriction on the production and use of oil and natural gas, and the reorganization of the electric grid is so dangerous.
Adversaries such as China, Russia, and Iran may use renewables (to varying degrees), but they do not let them constrain their economies. And China, famously, continues to build large numbers of new coal-fired power plants.
This piece originally appeared in the National Review