Energy Technology Policies in Europe and the U.S.: Learning From Our Differences

Friday, February 17, 2017: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 310 (Hynes Convention Center)
Both the U.S. and Europe cite the importance of climate change mitigation in energy policy, coupled with long-standing concerns for energy security and affordability. The headline responses are, however, rather different. In the U.S., we see a focus on change within fossil-fueled electricity generation, especially the growth of domestic natural gas. Arguably, this has led to stable wholesale electricity prices and the delivery of an affordable, reliable energy system, together with reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Europe's approach is based on ambitious targets for renewable energy generation. It is posited that this will help to reduce dependence on energy imports and cut greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030, a third of Europe's energy is expected to be generated from renewables. The situation faced by E.U. natural gas–fueled power plant operators has been difficult in recent years. The U.S. has policy frameworks -- including the Climate Action Plan -- that look to shift away from dependence on fossil fuels and toward renewables. In Europe, there have also been policy measures associated with natural gas, but primarily these have been market-building. Some E.U. nations effectively prohibit the natural gas extraction innovations that have been a feature of U.S. activities of late. This session considers whether U.S. or Europe has the right approach to securing its energy supplies, and what lessons can be learned from their common and distinct experiences.
Joseph Winters, The Institute of Physics
Francis O'Sullivan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
America'€™s Growth in Domestic Natural Gas Energy Generation
Paulien Herder, Delft University of Technology
Europe'€™s Renewable Energy Targets