Energy Secretary: Plug-In Cars Will 'Definitely' Boost Demand for Electricity; Green Energy Can't Be Exported

By Susan Jones | May 20, 2021 | 6:44am EDT
An Electric Vehicle charging station lights up green in the parking lot of a Ralph's supermarket in Monterey Park, California on May 18, 2021. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
An Electric Vehicle charging station lights up green in the parking lot of a Ralph's supermarket in Monterey Park, California on May 18, 2021. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - "I know you realize that...plugging in a car, the electricity still has to come from somewhere," Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ill.) told Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at a hearing of a House Energy subcommittee on Wednesday.

"Do you have any data on the increased electricity demands that will occur when EVs are a larger percentage of the cars on the road? Where--where is that extra energy going to come from?" Bucshon asked.

"Yes," Granholm agreed:

There definitely will be increased demand, and that means that we have to add additional energy sources to the grid. And that is why a lot of the new energy that is coming on -- like solar and wind, which are cheaper than others -- is an opportunity for us to continue to provide affordable electricity. And then the research that is being done on energy storage coupled with that is so utterly important.

The Department of Energy as I mentioned is considered or we consider us the solutions place, and the cost of batteries for example, have dropped significantly in vehicles and we are going to do a whole effort that pushes to reduce the cost of energy storage for utilities as well.

So technology solutions that are out there [meaning some of those technologies don't exist at present] that we can deploy will create additional energy that we can put on to what we hope is an expanded energy grid and have us achieve these goals of being able to produce and use clean energy in the United States.

Granholm also told Bucshon she thinks "biofuels are really going to be important for the aviation sector," and that presents a "huge opportunity" for biofuels refiners.

How do you export renewable energy?

The United States became a net exporter of energy in 2019 for the first time in 67 years, according to the Energy Information Agency.

At Wednesday's hearing, Rep. Jeffrey Duncan (R-S.C.) asked Granholm if she agrees with the statement "that renewable energy is not exportable?" 

"I wouldn't necessarily agree with that. No," Granholm said.

"Okay, tell me how you're going to export renewable energy--other than transmission lines," Duncan said.

"It depends on what you--whether you consider energy storage an assist to renewable energy," Granholm said, speaking of energy storage technology that does not presently exist.

"Largely, of course, it (renewable energy) is involved here, created here, deployed here. So yes, that is an important aspect of it. But I would say the technology that gets us to clean energy, a lot of that technology is exportable."

"The technology is exportable," Duncan said. "I'm talking about the energy as it's produced."

“Yeah, it's largely done inside of a country. Yes," Granholm said about renewable energy.

"Yeah," Duncan agreed. "I mean, we can't load up a bunch of Eveready batteries right now on a ship and send them out. But what we can do is load up natural gas and send it to neighboring countries and countries around the world to improve the quality of lives for so many people. We have an abundance of natural gas in this country and abundance of fossil fuels in general.

In fact, in 2017 [actually, it was 2019], we became a net exporter of energy. And so we're not seeing that now. But I just want to make sure that we understand that we're not exporting renewable energy, but we can export the fossil fuels that are produced here."

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