Guiding Principles for Sound Energy Policy: Outcomes from an OurEnergyPolicy Discussion Series

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The mission of OurEnergyPolicy (OEP) is to facilitate substantive, responsible dialogue on energy policy issues and provide this dialogue as a resource for the American people, policymakers, and the media. In doing so, we inform and support the creation of sound and effective policies. OEP seeks to encourage dialogue representative of viewpoints from across the energy sector, rather than advocating for any specific political, programmatic, policy, or technological agenda. As part of this mission, OEP started an initiative to produce a list of principles that can guide the creation of sound energy policy and convened several discussions to reach this objective. The goal is for policymakers at any level of government—and of any political affiliation—to use these principles to guide the development of well-constructed energy
policies.

The principles that experts identified through these discussions are the following:

  • Reliability – The public depends on energy to keep the economy running, especially during extreme weather events.
  • Affordability – Americans depend on daily, affordable energy to function and thrive.
  • Decarbonization – Climate change threatens the basic systems of modern society.
  • Equity and Inclusion – Policy must take into account likely impacts on various communities and ameliorate inequities.
  • Integrated Policy – Policies should be drafted with the understanding that our energy systems are interconnected; achieving one goal may affect our ability to achieve others.
  • Respecting Sound Science – Energy policies should be evidence based and in harmony with the best scientific studies and data.
  • Technology Neutral – To the extent possible, energy policies should take a technology-neutral, market-oriented approach, as this most efficiently promotes the continued evolution of the energy sector.

OEP held three separate conversations with energy leaders to explore this concept: a February 10, 2021, webinar; an online, written discussion in February; and an April 14, 2021 stakeholder roundtable. In this paper, we highlight points of consensus and various points of view by participants of these discussions. All three conversations were structured to include experts from across the political spectrum and to include energy leaders with extensive experience in government, non-profit organizations, academia, finance, law, and industry. We are grateful to our participants for their involvement. We would also like to highlight the involvement of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the generous support of which has made OEP’s 2021 roundtables possible. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the J.M. Kaplan Fund or the individual participants listed. The principles and associated content also do not express the position of OEP, which, as a non-partisan organization, does not advocate for any particular policy or approach.

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