LOS ANGELES - This week, the issue is energy.
During a trip to Southern California, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm sits down with Elex Michaelson for "The Issue Is," to discuss electric vehicles, nuclear power, gas prices, and much more.
All this, as California is in the midst of an extreme heatwave, temperatures rising into the triple digits, the heat forcing state officials to issue flex alerts, calling on voluntary energy conservation during peak hours, even on charging electric vehicles.
That request has raised concerns for many, as the state has also just announced plans to eliminate the sale of new gas-powered cars by the year 2035.
Energy also took center stage in the California state legislature this week, as, citing potential energy shortages, legislators passed a bill to keep the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant open through 2030, rather than the originally scheduled 2025 closure.
That bill was one of many debated in the final days of the legislative session. To discuss the proposals that made it, the ones that didn’t, and the big winners and losers of this legislative session, Michaelson is joined by Alexei Koseff of Cal Matters and Jeremy B. White of Politico.
THE ISSUE IS: EXPANDING GRID CAPACITY, ESPECIALLY AS CALIFORNIA PLANS TO END THE SALE OF NEW GAS-POWERED CARS BY 2035
SEC. GRANHOLM’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I mean, 2035 is a long way away as well. We have to add power to the grid, clean power. We've got to add transmission lines to be able to bring that clean power to places where it's needed. All of that is happening right now, I mean, all of that, and we're pushing on all of these levers simultaneously to get clean power on to the nation's electric grid. We have got to double the size of the electric grid in this country, not just for electric vehicles, but because of the growth of the country and because we want to move away from fossil fuels or to decarbonize the existing fossil fuel industry. So, we've got to add to the grid, and we're doing that as part of the investments in the transmission that were passed by Congress in both the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act…."
THE ISSUE IS: THE FUTURE OF NUCLEAR POWER
SEC. GRANHOLM’S CENTRAL TAKE: "The fact that [Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant’s] life is potentially going to be extended is really important because, of course, nuclear is zero carbon emitting baseload power, and, you know, I'm a proponent of nuclear power, I think that the next generation nuclear power is really important as well, so let's keep what we have while we get through this period of time, because these extreme weather events are going to continue to happen, meaning extended droughts, extended heat waves, and so we've got to keep clean power on even as we build out the renewable power that we also want to see…"
THE ISSUE IS: THE DIRECT, ENERGY IMPACT OF THE "INFLATION REDUCTION ACT" ON CALIFORNIANS
SEC. GRANHOLM’S CENTRAL TAKE: "On a very granular level, for people who want to reduce their energy costs, this means that there will be rebates for them to install, for example, heat pumps to replace their HVAC system, which uses, often, a lot of natural gas and electricity, for a much more efficient pump, which is electric. And that will heat and cool one's home.... The rebates are all tied to income, so if you install a heat pump and you're lower income, you can get the whole thing paid for. If you're medium income, you can get $8,000 back. If you install an electric induction stove, you can get $850 or $840 back on a rebate. Plus, if you want to install solar panels on your roof, a 30% tax credit off the top. If you are low income, you can have this all done as part of our weatherization assistance program. So all of this for real people, for home energy costs, it's all bringing it down. On the big level, of course, it incentivizes utilities, businesses to install solar to do utility scale, big solar fields, big wind farms, so that we can add that clean electricity onto the grid, which is, you know, from an individual point of view, it's also healthier. It's so much healthier for people to breathe…"
THE ISSUE IS: GAS PRICES, WILL THEY CONTINUE TO FALL?
SEC. GRANHOLM’S CENTRAL TAKE: "The reason why gas prices went through the roof is because Russia invaded Ukraine and Russia was a big exporter of oil. Oil gets refined into gasoline and that's why the prices were up, because that supply was taken off the market. The president said we want to fill in that hole that Russia created by invading Ukraine. We want to add more supply to the market, so he has the biggest tool at his disposal, which is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and that's the US has barrels of oil in reserve that we are releasing now 1 million barrels a day to be able to stabilize supply and demand to keep these prices coming down. Now, the Energy Information Administration inside of the Department of Energy forecasts what the price will be, and on a national average, it's looking like it's about where it's going to stabilize right now - I will say this, though, depending on what happens globally, I mean, if China decides that because of its COVID lockdown, it opens up and that means everybody in China starts to drive again, that means demand will go up and that means prices will go up globally…."
The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.