Op-ed: Forget Picking Winners and Losers, American Clean Energy Innovation Wins Every Time

Today, RealClearEnergy published an op-ed by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) President Heather Reams and Conservative Energy Network (CEN) President John Szoka highlighting their sixth annual congressional fly-in, where the groups will promote an all-of-the-above energy approach to increase market competition and encourage American innovation. Advocates from across the United States are meeting with 100 Republican congressional offices to discuss commonsense clean energy policies that lower energy costs for Americans and reduce global emissions. Read more about the fly-in HERE.

Read the full op-ed here or below:

States across the country will benefit from a conservative energy strategy that embraces an all-of-the-above approach, invites market competition and encourages innovation.  

Conservatives know well that when the government picks winners and losers, the result is an inefficient and regressive economy. This principle holds true when it comes to adding more clean energy to the grid. A free-market approach to adopting new technologies that reduce global emissions is essential for fostering American ingenuity and ensuring economic competitiveness.  

As the leaders of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), a D.C.-based nonprofit organization working to engage congressional Republican lawmakers on clean energy initiatives, and the Conservative Energy Network (CEN), a 25-state national network engaging state, county and municipal leaders on clean energy policies, we sit at the nexus of the conservative climate movement.  

In this role, CRES and CEN work together to educate and support conservative policymakers nationwide, empowering them to champion American-made clean energy and technologies that attack carbon emissions, not our economy. This week, we are proud to bring nearly 50 state and local clean energy leaders to Washington to meet with nearly 90 U.S. House and Senate offices.    

Representing a wide coalition of conservatives from across the country, these community and state energy leaders are instrumental in advocating for policy that boosts the competition, innovation and implementation of clean energy technology.  

They know firsthand the local impact that new clean energy projects make in communities, from creating jobs and economic opportunities to lowering energy prices for families and businesses. Since 2022, more than 327,000 clean energy jobs have been announced with private and public investments in clean energy projects totaling over $234 billion. 

As captured by the Clean Economy Tracker, projects ranging from the extraction and processing of critical minerals in Nevada to the manufacturing of batteries used for electric vehicles and storage in Georgia are being advanced in towns and cities around the nation. This forward momentum reflects the greater embrace of clean energy supply chains in the conservative electorate. In fact, CRES Forum polling found that 70% of Republican and Independent voters support the federal government taking action to expand the use of clean energy in the U.S. Likewise, CEN polling found that 78% of Americans across the political spectrum agree that we should accelerate the growth of clean energy so that the U.S. can decentralize electricity sources, protecting us against prolonged outages due to extreme weather or security threats. 

Achieving energy security requires significant permitting reform. Far too many clean energy projects that could be strengthening our grid are delayed with overburdensome regulatory hurdles and often a cycle of never-ending litigation. For example, Cardinal-Hickory Creek Line is a transmission project that has been delayed for nearly a decade. There are currently more than 100 clean energy projects awaiting connection to Cardinal-Hickory Creek in the Upper Midwest, but because of loopholes and incentives for activist groups, the project remains incomplete. House Republicans passed legislation over a year ago that would streamline the permitting process and accelerate clean energy projects, but it has languished in the Senate.  

These delays weaken our national grid and threaten the energy supply needed to meet drastically increasing demand. When American innovators aren’t saddled with unnecessary obstacles, new technologies can be exported around the world, helping other countries lower their emissions without compromising energy reliability.  

With increased investment and removal of red tape, American industry can thrive, and communities will fully realize the potential of the clean energy economy. For example, passage of the bipartisan Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies and Ecosystems (RISEE) Act will ensure the growing offshore wind sector returns funds to nearby communities, while contributing to the energy grid and reducing emissions. 

With our energy demand only increasing, it’s time for an all-hands-on deck approach to our energy portfolio that reduces emissions, rewards American ingenuity and empowers domestic producers to develop clean energy technologies that deliver affordable, reliable and clean energy — both at home and abroad.  

Conservatives like us know there are no losers when it comes to American energy generation. Policy that unleashes clean energy innovation by leveraging the market and cutting red tape wins every time.  

Heather Reams is President of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES).

John Szoka is CEO of the Conservative Energy Network (CEN).

Read the full op-ed here.

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