By Jeff McMahon
In Chicago last week, the former director of the Energy Information Administration reminisced about a glorious day, not long ago, when Democrats and Republicans got along—even when the topic was energy.
“We recently had a case where it was an actually-bipartisan agreement,” said Adam Sieminski, who headed the EIA from 2012 until this January.
The fond day he recalled was Dec. 15, 2015, when Congressional Democrats agreed to support a bill allowing the export of crude oil, fulfilling a major Republican goal, and in return Republicans supported a five-year extension of wind and solar tax credits.
That deal will continue to fuel the growth of renewables, Sieminski said, predicting—as the agency did in its Annual Energy Outlook—that renewables will continue to grow faster in the United States than any other form of energy.
But not fast enough to displace fossil fuels, he added, unless something truly radical happens—a better battery.
“If somebody invents a battery that really works that’s going to be revolutionary,” Sieminski told a room packed with students and faculty at the University of Chicago. “It could have the same impact that shale technology had on oil and gas production. So, we’ll look for that one…”
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