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U.S. declares national energy emergency

lights across continental United States as seen from space

The United States declared a national energy emergency on June 6, 2022. The emergency – declared to exist with respect to the threats to the availability of sufficient electricity generation capacity to meet expected customer demandwill stay in effect for at least 24 months or until it’s declared terminated, whichever occurs first.

“A robust and reliable electric power system is not only a basic human necessity, but is also critical to national security and national defense,” the president said in the declaration.1

“Multiple factors are threatening the ability of the United States to provide sufficient electricity generation to serve expected customer demand.”

The declaration continues:

These factors include disruptions to energy markets caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change.  

For example, in parts of the country, drought conditions coupled with heatwaves are simultaneously causing projected electricity supply shortfalls and record electricity demand.

As a result, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation have both warned of near-term electricity reliability concerns in their recent summer reliability assessments.

In order to ensure electric resource adequacy, utilities and grid operators must engage in advance planning to build new capacity now to serve expected customer demand. 

Solar energy is among the fastest growing sources of new electric generation in the United States.  

Utilities and grid operators are increasingly relying on new solar installations to ensure that there are sufficient resources on the grid to maintain reliable service. Additions of solar capacity and batteries were expected to account for over half of new electric sector capacity in 2022 and 2023. 

The unavailability of solar cells and modules jeopardizes those planned additions, which in turn threatens the availability of sufficient electricity generation capacity to serve expected customer demand. 

Electricity produced through solar energy is also critical to reducing our dependence on electricity produced by the burning of fossil fuels, which drives climate change.  The Department of Defense has recognized climate change as a threat to our national security. 

In recent years, the vast majority of solar modules installed in the United States were imported, with those from Southeast Asia making up approximately three-quarters of imported modules in 2020. 

Recently, however, the United States has been unable to import solar modules in sufficient quantities to ensure solar capacity additions necessary to achieve our climate and clean energy goals, ensure electricity grid resource adequacy, and help combat rising energy prices. 

This acute shortage of solar modules and module components has abruptly put at risk near-term solar capacity additions that could otherwise have the potential to help ensure the sufficiency of electricity generation to meet customer demand.

Roughly half of the domestic deployment of solar modules that had been anticipated over the next year is currently in jeopardy as a result of insufficient supply. 

Across the country, solar projects are being postponed or canceled.

The Federal Government is working with the private sector to promote the expansion of domestic solar manufacturing capacity, including our capacity to manufacture modules and other inputs in the solar supply chain, but building that capacity will take time.

Immediate action is needed to ensure in the interim that the United States has access to a sufficient supply of solar modules to assist in meeting our electricity generation needs.

lights across continental United States as seen from space bg
Image credit: NASA

“The President has declared an emergency with respect to the inadequate supply of solar cells and modules,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Enforcement and Compliance Lisa Wang said in a statement.2

“Pursuant to the President’s Proclamation, the Department of Commerce will issue regulations to temporarily permit for up to 24 months duty-free access to solar cells and modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

“We will continue to rigorously enforce U.S. trade laws, hold our trading partners accountable, and defend U.S. industries and workers from unfair imports.”

References:

1 Declaration of Emergency and Authorization for Temporary Extensions of Time and Duty-Free Importation of Solar Cells and Modules from Southeast Asia – The White House – June 6, 2022

2 Department of Commerce Statement on President Biden’s Proclamation on Solar Cells and Modules – U.S. Department of Commerce – June 6, 2022

Featured image credit: NASA

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14 Comments

  1. Is this comments section an accurate reflection of America? Oh crap. The energy crisis from the 70s never went away. It just got blurred by the Big Oil lobby or opportunistic fake eco greenwashing, and embarrassing fealty to the Saudis. The original “demand exceeds supply” problem remains, and because nobody listened to the environmentalists – the scale and consequences of doing nothing new, threaten the grid and economy. It’s your own damn fault for believing you could go on getting drunk on cheap oil forever. Have we built a renewable energy infrastructure? Of course not, because America is fatally corrupted with the sort of ignorance you can read about in the comments above. Booyah.

  2. Meanwhile back at the ranch, the knuckleheads running our country right now are shutting down clean nuclear power plants right and left with nothing to replace them. The loons are in charge of the asylum and are running America into the ground. Of course that was their plan all along.

  3. Whether these catastrophes are the unintended consequences of incompetent leadership or by nefarious design, this administration is the most corrupt in the history of the nation. This government is a failure on all levels starting from the top and infesting every office. Clowns like Pete Buttjudger and Karine Jean-Pierre are given high profile positions based on whom they sleep with instead of being qualified.

  4. Of course, it has absolutely nothing to do with shutting down the pipelines and our energy independence that we had during the last guy’s term. Funny how Barry 2.0 suddenly increased “climate change” to the n-th degree. Jesus is coming.

  5. I see Biden’s still blaming his failures on Russia. Just wait until he tries to get millions of electric vehicles onto the grid. Maybe by then his herd of unicorns will have gathered all the lightening bolts necessary to power the grid.

  6. Hysterical! (what a JOKE!!) HOW can those (CRIMINALS) who have CREATED the shortages/crisis, now declare a ‘national energy emergency’???

    Are individuals (the public) THIS DUMB as to be so CLUELESS as to what is actually going on? Time to GROW UP, CHILDREN!! (and start acting like the ADULTS you claim to be!)

    1. Of course they’ve thought it through. Low IQ commentors like you PAY for it, of course. This is the end of the world as we know it. Moving into great times of pure evil all around the world.

    1. Big Oil destroys the environment and takes it to the bank. Big Energy neglects grid upgrades, and takes it to the bank. I would call it a conspiracy, except that it’s common knowledge, right out in the open. No other corruption compares.

    2. It’s not the mentally unstable criminal Biden. Biden is simply the “front guy” for Obama. Obama and Jarrett are the EVIL behind the destruction of the Republic. Obama and Jarrett must be arrest for sedition.

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