Opinion: Moving the Energy Policy Discussion Forward

on September 26, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Sun Rises Behind U.S. Capitol Building

Today, the future of America’s energy policy seems to have been put on the back burner. Yet energy issues are directly tied to the economic future and security of the U.S., and it is important that the American people fully understand the impacts and costs associated with implementing sound energy policy.

Among the challenges in making progress towards a coherent national energy policy is the siloed nature of the energy sector. As General James L Jones, Senior Fellow at the Bi-Partisan Policy Center, said last December, “We (The United States) have 15 or 16 different agencies and departments that manage energy now…it’s all stovepiped”. As a result, the U.S. has become dangerously unable to communicate meaningfully in the face of an aging infrastructure, rapidly evolving threats to energy security and volatile global energy markets. We can capitalize on the opportunities these challenges present, if we emerge from our silos and engage one another in substantive dialogue that is focused on finding solutions.

To be effective, this conversation must engage energy experts with diverse perspectives in a collaborative and public discourse. A transparent and non-partisan platform for thought leaders from academia, industry, government, law, finance, think tanks, and non-profits will be necessary if we are to meet our current energy challenges.

A big part of the problem is the need to improve the understanding of energy issues and the consequences of not addressing them. During an OurEnergyPolicy.org panel discussion last December, James Connaughton, Executive Vice President, C3 Energy cited energy literacy as an issue we must address:.

If we institutionalize the conversation and you make it as important as a basket of ongoing conversation, like some of the national security issues, then everybody will feel compelled that they’ve got to be better informed about how it all works.

OurEnergyPolicy.org features a growing community of over 750 key experts from various energy-related fields who are committed to substantive dialogue and improving the energy discourse. Policymakers at the state and federal level have begun to take notice and are utilizing the OurEnergyPolicy.org site to seek out expert input. The transparency of the website empowers anyone with an interest to become a better informed participant in our national dialogue.

One of our recent discussions features the question: “Should nuclear power receive environmental subsidies?” and can be found here.

I invite you to visit our website, www.ourenergypolicy.org, and participate in moving the energy policy discussion forward.

Bill Squadron has been an executive, government official and attorney in the energy, telecommunications, sports and media fields for more than 25 years, and is currently President of OurEnergyPolicy.org. Previously, Mr. Squadron was co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Sportvision, Inc., and was named Ernst & Young’s New York City Entrepreneur of the Year in the media category in 2001. From 1990-93, as Commissioner of the NYC Department of Telecommunications and Energy, Mr. Squadron administered New York’s cable franchises, oversaw the City’s communications and energy policies, and launched and managed the City’s five-channel cable network. Prior to that, Mr. Squadron was a partner at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster in Washington, D.C.