Energy Blog

Energy Blog

US Chamber of Commerce Blog

Eric Nelson

All eyes are focused on the business world this week at the 69th annual Hannover Messe in Germany – the world’s largest industrial fair and the perfect setting for American companies to show the world what they’ve got in terms of innovation and technology.

But amidst the gadgets and buzz of the moment, it is important to not lose sight of the path forward. The next big thing – whether it is in the United States or Europe – depends on opportunity.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of German Industries (BDI) hosted a business summit on Monday at Hannover Messe to look at “The Future of the Transatlantic Relationship.”

In his remarks, Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said the relationship rests on three pillars: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), digital data flows and cooperation, and energy.

“No other partnership in the last seventy years has done more to advance global economic growth, establish a robust and fair trading system, and foster democracy, opportunity, and security around the world. Today, our partnership is more important than ever — and so is our global leadership.”

On TTIP, Donohue said “we’re a long way from the comprehensive accord we seek, but that does not mean we should lower our ambition just to conclude a deal against an artificial deadline.”

“On trade, the U.S. Chamber and BDI have agreed to a joint declaration that calls on the European Commission, the United States government, and the governments of all EU member states to secure an ambitious, comprehensive, and high-standard Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. A standard-setting agreement will ensure the free flow of capital, talent, goods, and data. It will spur jobs, growth, and investment on both sides of the pond.”


In regards to digital, Donohue noted that “moving data and information across borders is critical to companies of every size and sector.”

“Soaring flows of data and information now generate more economic value than the global trade in goods. That’s why the American business community is urging the United States and the EU to quickly approve the new Privacy Shield agreement to give businesses the certainty they need to invest and hire. In doing so, we will acknowledge that we can facilitate data flows while protecting privacy at the same time. Our member companies are committed to fulfilling their obligations under both European and U.S. law. Through the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation (CATI), the Chamber is devoting more resources to ensuring the right policies are established to harness the power of data while keeping it safe. For the digital economy to thrive, rules must be consistent, reasonable, and adaptable to new technologies and processes."

And when it comes to energy, Donohue pointed to the United States as an example.

"As Europe begins charting a new course on energy, the U.S. experience is instructive. America has grown its economy while reducing its carbon emissions. Our energy revolution—including a surge in hydraulic fracturing—has lowered U.S. energy prices, given us a significant competitive edge, and is driving a U.S. manufacturing revival. The Chamber has launched a European Energy Initiative to advance a pro-growth European energy strategy that will promote responsible development of Europe’s own resources, increase its access to external energy supplies, and enhance transatlantic cooperation on efficiency. A robust energy strategy is essential in promoting industrial competitiveness and addressing potential national security challenges.”

In closing, Donohue said we can’t lose sight of the things that led to our economic success in the first place – a commitment to free enterprise.

“None of this will be possible unless we boldly reaffirm the free enterprise principles that built our great economies in the first place. This is not the time to retreat from them, but to embrace and advance them for our collective prosperity—and as a model for the rest of the world. America and Europe have a bright future ahead, if we continue to work together."

Energy Policy Photo by Jerry Meaden / Flickr Creative Commons

Dear 45,

With growing deficits, aging infrastructure and ever-increasing budget demands, our country is on the hunt for more revenue. The good news is that there’s a better option than taking even more out of Americans’ paychecks. One ready-made solution to these challenges is America’s vast homegrown energy resources.  Unleashing the potential of these vast resources will not only generate much-needed revenue to help fund our country’s critical needs, it will also create jobs and strengthen national security.

022443_dear45_3x5in.jpg Unfortunately, the current administration has pursued energy policies that will squander this opportunity and inflict economic harm. Its approach to energy has been to make it increasingly expensive, and to limit our energy options to a favored few. For instance, your predecessor has steadfastly refused to allow more access to offshore energy supplies in the Atlantic and Pacific, even on a limited basis, which could create millions of jobs, billions in revenue, and trillions of new investment.

At the same time, the administration is pursuing numerous crushing regulations designed to radically redesign the electricity sector, which will put Americans out of work, threaten the reliability of our electric grid, and raise costs for consumers. It’s also pressing forward on new costly ozone regulations that will be impossible for some areas of the country (including a few national parks) to meet.   And most recently, it has proposed adding a $10 tax on barrels of oil produced in the United States, which would raise not only the price of gas but also the cost of common goods we use every day. 

Fortunately, you have an opportunity to put our country on a more practical and productive path – one that first and foremost recognizes that we have transitioned from an era of energy scarcity to an era of energy abundance.  Our Institute for 21st Century Energy has identified numerous specific policy actions which would create jobs, grow revenue, and make our nation more secure. 


America’s innovators have changed our energy fortunes for today and can do it for the future if government heavy handedness doesn’t crush that opportunity. Your energy vision should embrace every form of energy. For instance, we should be removing barriers to increasing our country's production of oil,  natural gas production and coal, enhancing the competitiveness of nuclear and renewable energy sources, protecting our energy infrastructure, and promoting  energy efficiency.

Too often, policy debates devolve into soundbites. Our country and its citizens deserve a more informed conversation about energy, which starts with a realistic understanding of what we have, what we need now, and we’ll need in the future.  It’s easy to pretend that the world can simply stop using traditional  resources like coal, oil and natural gas, but as our economy grows, we will need all of them—and more. 

Our proposal to find ways to improve all sources of energy, to make each of them more efficient and cost effective.  We also have enormous opportunities for renewables and advanced technologies which should be robustly pursued.  And we must invest in and build the infrastructure that is needed to move molecules and electrons all across our nation to supply Americans with the energy needed to power their homes, cars and offices.

We’re hoping that your administration will give energy issues the attention they deserve.  Ingenuity and innovation brought us this new energy future and support for a new American energy era runs deep. You will find ready partners on both sides of the aisle and we, representing America’s job creators, stand ready to assist.


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Eric Nelson Heath Knakmuhs (left) and Dan Byers, both with the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, explain the energy facts at the Lincoln Memorial. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The next stop in our “Monumental Issues” tour of Washington, D.C., is the Lincoln Memorial, where the public may visit 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Another thing we rely on 24/7: our electricity supply.

In this episode, Dan Byers and Heath Knakmuhs, both with the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, start off by discussing America’s diverse sources of energy.

But, as Heath notes, “Our nation is most reliant on two sources — coal and natural gas, which make up two-thirds of our electricity supply.”

Dan adds: “Unfortunately, a series of EPA regulations are targeted at removing these affordable baseload sources from the power grid. Without coal and natural gas, grid reliability will be threatened and electricity will become more expensive for families and businesses. This will drive manufacturing jobs overseas and make the American economy less competitive around the world.”

At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we continue working to promote policies that create jobs, foster growth and expand opportunity for every community and every American. And states and businesses are standing up to EPA overreach: 28 states are involved in litigation against the agency’s power plant regulations, and 166 chambers and business groups from 40 states are supporting the effort. Visit www.energyxxi.org to learn more.

See previous installments of “Monumental Issues.”

Monumental Issues: Talking Tax Reform with Caroline Harris Monumental Issues: Talking Health Policy with Katie Mahoney