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MODERATOR:  Thank you all, and thank you for the introduction.  I am thrilled to be here today as an Alaskan kid and to have you all here in Anchorage, and we have a great panel this morning.

As we delve into pollutions and new technologies and approaches this week, I think this panel will help us set the stage for the global context.  We have two exceptionally experienced folks here today to provide that context and that insight.

It’s my pleasure to introduce Mr. Dave Turk, US Deputy Secretary of Energy for the Department of Energy.  Prior to his nomination as Deputy Secretary Mr. Turk was the Deputy Executive Director of the International Energy Agency where he focused on helping countries around the world tackle their clean energy transitions.  He has specialized in clean hydrogen and also worked on a project to track the progress of a wide range of clean energy technologies.  During the Obama/Biden administration he coordinated international technology and clean energy efforts at DOE.  So lots of great perspectives there.

Then we also have Mr. Geoffrey Pyatt, the Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources at the US Department of State.  Mr. Pyatt has been all over the world since he joined the Foreign Service nearly 35 years ago, I think.  He has been an Ambassador to Greece, to Ukraine.  He has served in New Delhi, India with the US embassy; with the Consulate General in Hong Kong; in Pakistan.  He really has been all around the world, and I am very excited to hear these gentlemen’s perspectives on Alaska’s central role in global energy.

Without further ado I’d like to turn it over to Mr. Turk for some of your opening comments and then we’ll have the same from Mr. Pyatt, and then we’ll open it up to some conversation and questions.

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  First of all, thank you for moderating this panel, and more importantly, thank you for being the first Alaska kid to head up our Department of Energy, Alaska Energy Office.  And if you ever need anything, not only from the Department of Energy but across the government, Erin is a terrific resource and a huge, huge partner and documenter.  So thank you, Erin, for taking this job and being such a terrific leader for us throughout the department.

Let me also thank the Governor and his administration.  I’ve had a chance to meet the government.  I had dinner with him last night.  I have to say you can pick up pretty quickly if you’ve got a Governor who’s a show horse versus a work horse.  Those are terrible terms, but I think you know what I mean on that account.  It was clear to me that you’ve got a real work horse, someone who’s incredibly passionate, someone who’s incredibly committed, and someone who’s eager and willing to partner, including with this administration in Washington to get things done for Alaska.  So Governor, thank you for your leadership, your partnership, and your entire administration as well.

I’d like to maybe start and just build on what the Governor said and Senator Sullivan as well.  There are definitely some unique challenges.  The affordability one is the biggest one I’d like to highlight.  Energy costs four times, or even in remote areas eight times, that’s just not good enough.  That shouldn’t be good enough for anybody who works in the federal government, the state government or in communities as well.  So we’re really eager to try to make some real progress on that.  I’ve been in energy circles long enough to know if you don’t have affordability and reliability then everything else is secondary on that account.  So I’m eager to try to make progress on that.

I think there’s also, and Governor, I think you hit this incredibly well, and the Senator as well, enormous opportunity here.  I’d like to highlight two of those opportunities.  One is obvious and I think Governor, you laid this out incredibly elegantly in terms of the breadth of opportunities across the board when it comes to energy here in Alaska.  And not just the ones that you may normally think about.  I think your reference to tidal and marine resources, to wind including offshore wind, geothermal, is such a powerful huge resource literally at our feet that we’re just not taking advantage of enough.  All the critical minerals opportunities here.  We build up that supply chain in terms of what we need in the US but around the world in terms of those opportunities.  So huge, huge opportunities no doubt on the natural resources front.

The other opportunity that I’d like to highlight is a kind of can-do attitude or if I can be a little bit more direct, a no BS kind of attitude.  Geoff, we’ve been in DC a little while off and on in our careers.  You get a sense where people can actually get things done and you get a sense where things get mired with bureaucracy and what not.  We’re trying to do our part in the US government to try to move things along as Senator Sullivan recognized on the LNG front.

It seems like there’s a real can-do, pragmatic, roll up the sleeves, get things done.  Or put another way, I was emailing back and forth with my buddy Tommy Beaudreau who is the Deputy over at the Department of Interior.  I’ve gotten to know Tommy over the last several years as fellow deputies.  I was saying that I already ran into five people that Tommy knows and said say hi to Tommy.  He sent back in a note, Alaska’s like a small town.  People know each other.  People want to get together and get things done.

So as important as the breadth of those natural resources is, it’s that can-do attitude.  You put those two pieces together and you’ve got a pretty powerful combination.

I’ll just end in terms of the intro by just laying out, we now have, due to some historic legislation that was passed over the last couple of years in particular, a lot more opportunities from the federal government side to be a helpful partner.  I want to really underscore partner, and true partner.  This needs to be Alaskan led, Alaskan identified.  Not just Alaska as a state, but local communities.  But we have tools in the tool belt that we’re eager to try to make sure to bring to the table where they’re of interest going forward.

So just to give you a few highlights, there’s a bunch of infrastructure funding.  Already $4 billion has come to Alaska to build out infrastructure more generally.  We’ve got a phenomenal range of tax incentives across the board when it comes to clean energy technology.  We’ve got a couple hundred of our Department of Energy experts working with Treasury and IRS to make sure that we get the most out of those tax incentives.  Ten year tax incentives for most of them, providing the investment certainty across the range of clean energy technologies, Governor, that you outlined.  Incredibly, incredibly powerful wind at the back of all this investment.

Just at my department that I work for, Department of Energy, we’ve got $100 billion additionally, beyond the tax incentives, to do all sorts of rebates for consumers, to do cost share programs to build out clean energy, manufacturing in our country, critical minerals, supply chains in our country.  We also have our loan program that’s open for business including 10 times the loan authority for tribes across the country and tribes being able to get direct from the loan.

So we’ve got huge, huge opportunities.  So let us know what we can do to be as good a partner as we can.  My biggest fear is that there’s a tribe or a community or the state as a whole who could benefit from these federal resources and not use them.  We’re all taxpayers who are funding this, so take advantage of it.  So that’s where we need Erin, we need the rest of us connecting those dots and making sure, Governor, your vision is achieved for the state going forward.

My concluding message is for those who are investors in the room.  Not only as a US Department of Energy Deputy Secretary but as an Energy Analyst, boy, is this a phenomenal time to invest in Alaska on the natural resources, the clean energy side.  I think history will reward those who are big and bold and early in this space.  So I’m happy to have further conversations about what that actually means, but it’s a pleasure to be with you all, and I’m really looking forward to the discussions today and through the week.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Mr. Turk.

Mr. Pyatt?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  Good morning, everybody.  Thank you, Erin.

First of all, let me say what a huge pleasure it is to be here and thank you to Governor Dunleavy for the invitation.  This is my first time in Alaska.  I’m a native Californian.  There’s a lot about Alaska that feels familiar — the commitment to the outdoors, the respect for the environment.  But as the Governor emphasized last night, it’s just a whole lot bigger than I’m used to.

So I am here for two reasons.  One, because when I was going through confirmation I promised Senator Sullivan that I would try to get up to Alaska.  And he actually had my job at one point earlier in his career and he is the chair or co-chair of the Foreign Service Caucus in the Senate so he’s a very important member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  I’m also here, however, because Secretary of State Blinken has mandated us all to really focus on a foreign policy that works for the American people.

So it’s really important for me to understand who I work for, and that’s you.  Especially having spent the past nine years living overseas as a US Ambassador, it’s been really powerful for me to spend time traveling around the country and to understand how the global energy issues that I’m responsible for touch everyday Americans.

It’s also great to be here with Deputy Secretary Turk.  I would argue there has been no moment in history where the partnership between the Department of State and the Department of Energy has been more important than it is today for reasons that I’ll talk about in a few minutes.  But I’ll also make the point that I think there are very few states that bring home the issues that I’m responsible for in the way that Alaska does.  And Governor Dunleavy talked a little bit about that in his remarks on all of the above.  But whether it’s on fossil resources, this enormous potential that Alaska has on renewables, the role of minerals from this state and the energy transition, or the prospects for small modular reactor technology as Alaska moves through this energy transition.  This is a state that really brings home so much of what I’m responsible for.

It’s also a Pacific Basin state.  As Erin said, I’ve spent most of my career overseas, split sort of 50/50 between Europe and Asia.  And one thing that’s clear as I look back over those three decades, the fulcrum of geopolitics is shifting in a dramatic way towards the Asia Pacific.  This is the part of the global economy where our future and our children’s future is going to be defined.  Alaska is a near neighbor to Korea, to Japan, some of our closest allies in the Asia Pacific region.

It’s also a state with a long history of trade relations with the Asia Pacific.  I was reminded yesterday in my conversation with the team at Conoco-Phillips that it’s actually Conoco in Alaska that was the first company to export LNG to Japan, long before the United States had assumed its status as the largest LNG exporter in the world.  And especially in this Asia region, energy is central to our alliances.  So it’s really, really important that we think strategically about how to leverage those energy resources to build security in the region and to advance America’s national security interests.

As I think about my responsibilities at the State Department it’s very clear to me, and I’ve been doing this job for about eight months now.  There are two enormous changes that the global energy system is grappling with at this moment.  One is Russia and Vladimir Putin.  The consequence of the invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia which mean that the country which until last year was the largest oil and gas exporter in the world, will never again have that status.

If I can just leave one statistic with you.  The International Energy Agency assesses that by 2030 Russia’s oil and gas revenue will have declined by 50 percent.  Some of that is a result of international companies leaving the Russian market including our American energy companies — ExxonMobil, Baker, Haliburton.  All of those companies are gone so there’s going to be an inevitable decline in Russia’s productivity, but Russia has also lost some of its most important markets in particular in Europe where the Kremlin spent four decades building up gas infrastructure to tie Europe into Russian supplies.  That’s gone.  Europe will never again view Russia as a reliable energy supplier.  So there is 130bcm hole in European gas supplies right now.

That has enormous implications for the United States which, as I mentioned, is already now the world’s largest LNG exporter and will retain that status for years to come.

The other phenomena, of course, is the energy transition.  We can talk a little bit more about this later, but I would just emphasize how in my travels around the world, and in this role I’ve been to Japan, to Korea, to India, to Pakistan, to Europe a couple of times.  A week and a half ago I was in the Caribbean. You see how fast this transformation is occurring.  Some of which accelerated by what Dave talked about in the Inflation Reduction Act, in the way that is incentivizing a dramatic acceleration in the pace of investment and innovation that is going to ripple across our economies for years to come.

Alaska plays a critical role in that regard because of your mining resources and the extraordinary growth in demand that we’re going to see for lithium, for cobalt, for graphite, for all of the things which make a renewable energy future possible.

So I will talk a little more about this maybe in the question and answer, but I will just make the point to finish up here, Governor Dunleavy talked in his opening about how oil made Alaska.  And I think, as I look at my role and my responsibilities on the geopolitics of energy, a big part of my job is to make sure that in the same way the United States really led the international energy system during the fossil fuel era, that as we look out to 2050 and the net zero era and this energy transition that’s coming, that the United States continues to maintain that position of leadership.  But that leadership is going to depend as much as anything on the resources of this country, on the innovation of our scientists and our engineers, the entrepreneurial energy and capacity of our businesses.  So it’s a really, really important time for the partnership that, as I said, Secretary of State Blinken has mandated all of us to build.

So like Dave, really looking forward to the conversation and really appreciate Erin, the opportunity to be here.

MODERATOR:  Thank you very much for your opening comments.

I’d like to start thinking globally and direct a question to Mr. Pyatt.  What specifically do you think Alaskans should be aware  of in terms of how they fit into the global energy system?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  I think the first answer is those two big changes that I talked about, but not to be afraid of this, to recognize it as the Governor said, as a real opportunity.

I don’t need to lecture anybody in this room about the reality of climate change.  We all live this.  I was really impressed yesterday, had a really powerful conversation with Tara Sweeney at Conoco and talking to her about the history of the native communities on the North Slope and sort of how they are affected by the changes that we’re all seeing in our planet.

As a California, I see this in extreme weather events, drought, coastal erosion, sea temperature change, all of the things we see happening around us.  So that’s what adds the urgency to this energy transition.

But I think we also have to recognize that as one of the great economic opportunities that our country has experience — and Dave can talk a little more about how the Inflation Reduction Act connects to this.  But as I look around the world and I see the amount of innovation that is happening and especially in really big places.  You look at a country like India and you see the growth that is going to occur there in the demand for critical minerals.  The challenge of providing energy to an international community that is adding hundreds of millions of people to the middle class, all of whom want the things that we take for granted, but all of that starts with the availability of energy.  So this equation between energy security, energy transition and economic opportunity is a really powerful one.  So I think that’s what I would emphasize.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.

Mr. Turk, in terms of opportunities for Alaskans in the realm of this global transition, a huge focus of the Biden administration’s clean energy agenda has been the potential for job creation.  Can you talk more about that overall strategy and what those jobs can look like here in Alaska as part of that transition?

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  There’s a huge, huge opportunity on the jobs and economic development side of things.  The historic legislation that was passed, and it wasn’t just the Inflation Reduction Act that Geoff mentioned a couple of times, but also the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation.  I really want to give a shout out to Senator Murkowski for many, many years of work on that for work on that particular bill, and Senator Sullivan as well.  Just some terrific leadership coming from Alaska on that particular piece of legislation.

So it’s estimated that those pieces of legislation will help spur a million new jobs across the US every year for a decade.  That’s an awful lot of jobs just in terms of the volume of those jobs.  What we’re trying to do is be very intentional that those are good jobs.  Those are the kinds of jobs that our President has spoken so eloquently, also from Scranton, Pennsylvania, about the need for a job to not only be a paycheck but to be dignity, to be your place in the world trying to help those things along.  So we’ve got a phenomenal opportunity to have the volume and the quality of jobs going forward.

We’ve already seen phenomenal investment spurred by some of these pieces of legislation and what we’re all trying to do.  So upwards of $100 billion already invested in battery manufacturing across the United States.  That’s an awful lot of economic opportunity, that’s an awful lot of opportunity for the supply chains going in up to all those battery manufacturing facilities and the huge opportunity space here in Alaska in particular.

The other thing we’re trying to do is really prioritize what we call energy communities.  Those are communities that have spent years and decades and generations building up the strength of our energy infrastructure in the country and Alaska is certainly an energy community, and trying to really be intentional, be purposeful about making sure that there’s jobs, there’s economic opportunity.  A huge range of economic opportunities going forward.

So again, we’re looking forwards to being partners in an Alaska-driven economic future priorities going forward.  But we’ve now got some tools in the tool belt to help do all that.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.

Following up on that, Mr. Turk, I know that DOE is also doing much to promote economic opportunity through clean energy for our tribal communities which is an important part of our state.  What are some of those tools?

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  It’s a huge range of tools and we’ve spent a lot of time and effort for years and years at the department, but just ramping it up even further.

So in addition to our Arctic Energy Office that Erin so ably leads, we’ve got an Indian Energy Office as well that has been listening, been trying to build up those relationships with significant funding streams and only enhanced funding streams going forward.

So earlier today our Secretary announced an additional 18 tribes across the country who have been given awards to try to help them reduce their energy burden, that is make energy more affordable, more resilient, taking advantage of this full range of clean energy technology.  Of those 18, 5 of those tribes are here in Alaska.  So $6 million of additional investment.  This is just another announcement building on various other announcements that have been made going forward.  We’ll have all sorts of other opportunities going forward.

I mentioned before that our loan program now has 10 times the loan authority to work with tribes, and tribes can now access that funding directly as opposed to having to go through an intermediary.  So there’s a huge range of opportunities, what we need to do.  And Erin, you’ll be a helpful part of this to connect those dots, so that we make sure that we have those tools, we have those funding streams, we have those opportunities available for tribes certainly across the state.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.

Building on that, Mr. Pyatt, how do you see our indigenous community being a part of the global energy transition?  And how can Alaskans engage with the Department of State on work, energy security and larger issues of decarbonization.


Learning more about the tribal overlay with the Alaskan energy story is a big part of what I’m hoping to accomplish here over the net two days, but let me say on the broader question of decarbonization, this is really absolutely central I think to our global energy approach.  We are working an international agenda which aims to ensure that the energy process that our partners and allies around the world are going through drives towards the rapid reduction of the CO2 methane intensity of that energy source, whatever it may be.  Alaska is already in a strong position in this regard.  Senator Sullivan talked a little bit about it.  I heard more about this yesterday when I was talking to Conoco-Phillips in terms of best practices here in terms of methane management, in terms of non-flaring, opportunities to do a great deal more in the future as we accelerate the deployment of carbon capture and sequestration as part of the core business process for our international oil companies.

Looking at the area of green hydrogen and the transformation that this is going to produce, especially in hard to abate sectors like steel, like chemicals. How do we use the green hydrogen economy to reduce the carbon intensity of the things that are most central to our civilization.  Steel, cement, all the things that define modern life are also sectors that do not lend themselves easily to being powered with wind or solar or nuclear, so we have to find other mechanisms for that.

Again, this is where the Alaska LNG project is really interesting because it already, as Senator Sullivan described, it’s some very strong benchmarks in terms of the carbon intensity of that production.  But also because of the role that LNG can play in assisting our allies to accelerate the phase-out of coal which has been a big part of the story in the United States.  We would like very much to see that same phase-out happen as fast as possible, for instance, in the Asia Pacific, in Korea, in Indonesia, in India, in Pakistan.  But that’s going to require a lot more gas in order to fill that gap while we continue to scale up capacity for sustainable renewable energy, zero carbon energy, which is also going to require a lot more of the things that Alaska also produces in terms of critical minerals.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.

Moving back to you, Mr. Turk, can you describe some of the clean energy success stories that DOE has already seen here in Alaska?  And perhaps where you’d like to see us go.

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  There are success stories, and there’s a lot more success stories in the making if we can all work together on that front.  So just a couple of examples.

One is Shungnak where they’ve actually saved $200,000 a year off of expensive diesel, and building out the wind, the solar, and some storage.  And we see some replication of that again and again across the state.  It doesn’t mean it’s easy, it doesn’t mean it’s quick.  We’ve got to think and work and make sure the systems are tailored for the particular communities in terms of what’s going to benefit them the most.

There are other examples across the state including using the full range as the Governor said of the natural resources here.  So there’s a really cool technology to take advantage of river currents in ways that don’t screw up the salmon and ways that aren’t your traditional hydroelectric dams.  We’ve been working on that, our National Renewable Energy Lab among others, working on that for years and years and making sure that that is available at a price point that’s competitive going forward.

So we’ve got some success stories, but we all have to keep our eyes open that there’s a huge, huge opportunity space going forward.  We really need to accelerate those success stories going forward.

It’s clear to me that we’ve got an awful lot of leadership in the room from the Governor, from the Senators, from others here, and the private sector, from tribal leaders.  We need the partnership if we’re going to succeed.  It’s tough to do things by yourself and that’s where we look forward from the Department of Energy to bring some of these new tools that we’ve got, to be as helpful as we possibly can.

Then the most important part — leadership, partnership.  The most important part, and this is where it determines the scale on the scope of those success stories, is execution.  Blah, blah and talking and all that is great but we really need to execute in the real world and that’s where we all need to roll up our sleeves and get it done.  First and foremost for the communities that are impacted, that will be impacted the most if we can bring these clean energy technologies at a price point that works for them.  For affordability, for reliability, for economic development going forward.

MODERATOR:  I think the other aspect of partnership that comes to mind is how the Department of Energy and the Department of State might work together.  How do you see your two departments specifically coordinating on Alaska work?  I’m thinking for example of the National Strategy for the Arctic region, but may there’s other opportunities and partnerships that you can highlight for us.

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  I’ll take a crack, and Geoff may have an answer here as well.  And thanks, Geoff, for the very kind words.  I don’t think our two departments, certainly on energy issues, have worked as well as we’re working, and a lot of that is because of Geoff and his leadership and just going about it in a very collegial way.

Early in my career I had a chance to take a couple of stints actually at the State Department.  Each department is unique.  I would say the State Department is unique in all sorts of ways and I think it helps to have some of us who have worked in different departments to have a little bit of perspective, have a little bit of humility.  There’s an awful lot of phenomenal talent at the State Department.  Geoff and his career is a perfect example of this.  People who have devoted their time on the diplomatic front, living in a country, being ambassador to a place like Ukraine and Greece and others, understanding that country in and out.  That’s something that we at the Department of Energy don’t understand as much as we need to understand.

At Department of Energy, though, we’ve got a bunch of nerds.  Nerds in a good way.  There’s probably some nerds in this room right now.  We’ve got people who are literally doing things humanity’s never done before.  One of our National Labs last year for the first time ever actually had more energy coming out of a fusion experiment than was put into it.  A big deal.  It is the coolest thing.  The Secretary and I just had a townhall with all of our workers and I was just reflecting on what makes it so special to work in a place like your US Department of Energy.  It is routine that we get to say for the first time in humanity’s existence we’ve had ignition on fusion.  Or for the first time in humanity’s existence we’ve done this.  That’s because we’ve invested in that.  We’ve invested in that R&D.  We have 17 phenomenal National Labs around the country.  So we’ve got nerds, we’ve got technology, we’ve got policy, we’ve got a lot of tools in the tool belt.  That $100 billion I mentioned before.  We just need to marry it up with that diplomatic skill and that heft.

It’s a phenomenal time for energy.  If you’re in the US working with partners — I see our Ambassador to Japan, Emanuel, who’s a phenomenal, phenomenal leader for us in Japan.  I know in talking to Japanese colleagues, our Korean colleagues, South Korean colleagues or others, they want US partnerships — public/public, private/private.  There’s a thirst for that kind of US leadership around the world, so we just need to execute on that too.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  I’m going to pick up where Deputy Secretary Turk left it which is to emphasize the really vital importance of American leadership.  I will say, I have served now over multiple administrations — Republican and Democratic.  Mostly overseas.  And one of the things you see all the time is the tremendous appetite for US engagement and the appreciation of American leadership.  What our economy can do in the innovation in the tech space.  This is where the State Department’s real comparative advantage lies.  We have our embassies and consulates around the world.  People like Ambassador Emanuel working every day to advance America’s national interests, to build the partnership.

When I look at the transitions that we’ve talked about, the decoupling with Russia, the larger energy transition, what’s really interesting to me is that almost every country in the world wants the United States to be their provider.  We have competitors.  That’s something that’s changed over the course of my career.  And we should have no illusions that there are countries out there that wish us ill.  But the vast majority of the world wants to see us succeed.  They admire enormously what the United States represents, and they want to build those partnerships.  That’s what the State Department does.  I will also say in all of my ambassadorial and other manifestations, I’ve always enjoyed having very strong Department of Energy representation overseas.  I actually spent three years at the US Mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency as the number two, the DCM and as the Chargé, the guy who runs the embassy when we didn’t have an ambassador.  That mission actually has the largest DOE footprint I think of any US embassy anywhere in the world for obvious reasons.  But it’s a really, really powerful partnership at a moment when these energy issues have become so central to our strategic interests but also to our strategic relationships.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.

I’d like to drill down a little into that, Mr. Pyatt.  Can you offer some more of your perspectives about how Alaska specifically factors into that US narrative of energy security and production.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  One example, of course, is the Alaska LNG project that we’ve all talked about.  I’ve already mentioned this Russia-sized hole in global LNG supplies.  That is not going to change quickly.  The world is going to need large volumes of LNG to fill in behind Russia and Russia has lost Europe as a market and it’s Russia’s misfortune that much of its gas production is now going to be shut in because it doesn’t have the pipeline or the liquefaction capacity to send that gas elsewhere.

So the capacity that the United States has, whether it’s Alaska or from the Gulf coast is critically important and again, the advantage that Alaska has as part of this Pacific Basin community.  Ambassador Sullivan talked about some of the complicated geopolitics that surround some of the other major gas producers.

I would also again come back to the issue of critical minerals.  I think we’re all going to see a lot more of this.  I was interested yesterday, again talking to Conoco, how seriously they’re taking the prospect of electrification of some of their heavy equipment.  I was talking a few weeks ago with Fortescue, a very large Australian mining company that has made an enormous commitment to hydrogen as a power source for all of their heavy earth moving and other equipment that they use for copper production in Australia.  My home state of California, every time I go home it seems like every other car on the 405 is a Tesla.  But we are going to start to hit barriers very quickly in terms of the demand that that is going to create for hydrogen electrolyzers, for cobalt, for lithium, for copper.  The world is not going to have enough of these critical minerals without significant new investment.  And one things that I have learned in talking to a lot of mining company CEOs is they all remind me that they are an industry that is defined by long lead times.  They need 10 years from initial breaking of dirt to your first production.

So it’s really, really important that we think strategically about where we see these demand requirements going, and that we be very conscious of the challenge that we face because China has such an overwhelming lead in some of these critical technologies.  Well over 90 percent of processing of some critical minerals, complete domination of solar cell manufacturing, a majority role in the manufacturing  of wind turbines.  That’s starting to change, but it’s going to take the concerted effort of American companies, American investors working with allies and partners around the world, especially in big industrialized markets like Korea, Japan and the European Union.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.

I have another question, but before I ask that I want to remind folks that we’ll hopefully have some time for audience questions here.  If you go to the app, and I believe if you get on — I don’t know if there’s a QR code to get on there.  I’m hoping you all can access that and we can get some of your questions.

I want to return to your comment, Mr. Pyatt, about long lead times.  We are facing global energy challenges now and we’re facing energy challenges in Alaska now, as the Governor referenced.  How do we tackle that challenge of long lead times given the problems that we have at hand now and the opportunities that we have now?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  I would love to hand a lot of this to Deputy Secretary Turk since one of the good things about my job is that the State Department with one isolated exception does not do permitting.  But I think it’s also a matter of being strategic.  I think you see that from the White House, from the Biden administration.  I would commend to everyone if you haven’t read it, take ten minutes to look at the speech that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan gave at the Brookings Institution about three weeks ago.  It’s a really important articulation of the administration’s approach to competition with China and industrial policy.  It introduces the idea of de-risking our exposure to China but not decoupling.  And it provides I think a very good window into some of the debates that people like Dave and I are part of as we think about how to maintain American leadership in these industries that will be so important to the future competitiveness of the American economy.

I’m going to come back to it because I think it’s just such an important idea.  Governor Dunleavy’s point about how oil built Alaska and how now there’s this transition that we shouldn’t be afraid of because Alaska has all the ingredients also to be highly competitive in an era of energy transition both through this LNG period where we’re leveraging LNG as a baseload capacity, especially to accelerate phase-out of coal, but then also all of the new technologies that will be part of a zero future, zero carbon economy.

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Let me just add to that, and maybe since I’m not a diplomat I’ll just be really direct.  There is absolutely, as Geoff said, a competition going on.  There’s been a competition for years and years.  As a US citizen and someone who’s been in the federal government a few times now, I Think we’ve fallen asleep at the switch for too many years, to be perfectly candid, and others have kicked our ass for a while if I can be a little bit non-diplomatic, and it feels like we’ve now got an opportunity with the legislation that’s been passed, with the tools in the tool belt to actually fight back, to actually compete.

Now would it have been better to have done that five years ago, ten years ago, fifteen years ago?  Absolutely and we’d be in a much better place than we are right now, but we do have an opportunity to fight back.  We’re seeing the fruits and we’re seeing the potential of that vision going forward.

I mentioned $100 billion on the battery manufacturing.  That didn’t just happen.  That happened because we were purposeful, we were intentional, we’re making investments, we’re having the tax incentives, we’re having the other programs.

One of the programs we do at the Department of Energy is a $6 billion program to build up our battery manufacturing infrastructure in this country.  That is intentional. That is a strategy.  That is an offensive strategy to actually do what we need to do going forward.

My biggest fear, I have to be candid with you all, is as we’re competing, as we’re actually winning, and it’s going to take several years of concerted effort to actually get to the point where we are winning, that we pull back.  That we pull back and say no, we shouldn’t make this investment.  We need to be purposeful, we need to be intentional, and we need to actually execute on that side of things.

So the long lead time is a challenge, but the best time to have done it would have been five, ten years ago.  The second best time is to do it now, do it aggressively, and really build out.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.

Along those lines, and I’m going to expand on a question I received from one of the audience members.  What are the opportunities for federal regulatory reform?  And this question was asked in regard to geothermal technologies.  But for other energy technologies that we have.  Opportunities for our state.

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Let me be direct on the permitting piece in particular which is of course federal, but there’s state and local as well.  We do not do as good a job as we need to do, as quick a job as we need to do on the permitting side of things.  It should not take eight, ten years to permit a transmission line in our country.  It should not take that long for any project.  There’s legislation under consideration but there’s also a lot that we can do from the administration side of things.

One thing that hasn’t gotten much attention yet, we actually took an old law from 2005 that gave us the authority to work with others in the federal government, to actually have a two-years limit on the amount of time it takes to transmit, to permit transmission in the country on federal land.  Now it’s not all federal lands.  We’ve got to work with the states.  There’s a number of other things that we need to have as part of that.  But this is a step in that right direction.  If we’re going to be successful in this competition, if we’re going to take advantage of these opportunities, the jobs, we need to permit much, much quicker than we do right now.  So that’s an ongoing effort, something I personally spend a lot of time on.  A lot of us are spending a lot of time on that.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.

There’s an interesting question here, and I’d direct it to either of you.  As we and as you promote LNG to meet overseas needs, what is the administration’s view on the move of the lower 48 states to restrict the use of gas in stoves, in buildings and in perhaps other uses?

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Let me be clear, and DC drives me crazy sometimes.  There’s all sorts of politics that’s played.  It’s a free country.  I don’t need to tell Ambassador Emanuel, he used to be the Chief of Staff back in the day and a member of Congress for several years as well.  This administration, this Department of Energy, is not banning gas stoves.  I know that gets reported from time to time.  What we are required to do is take a look at the efficiency of appliances across the board, and where there are ways to save money for consumers and to push technology to be more efficient going forward that saves money for consumers, that is what Congress has mandated us to do and that’s what we’re taking a look at.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  If I can just add onto that, the State Department point.  US LNG production and US LNG exports are a very good thing in this particular moment in time.  And having spent a lot of time in Europe, and just to help everybody understand what happened over the past year and a half is Vladimir Putin really truly weaponized his energy resources and tried to use winter as a weapon against the Ukrainian people but also against hundreds of millions of Europeans.

There is deep appreciation in Europe for the fact that it really was American LNG producers that rode to the rescue, that provided the resources that European industry and European consumers needed to get through the last winter.

One ironic result of all of this is, of course, Vladimir Putin has lost Europe as a market.  But the other is that Europe itself is rapidly accelerating its own energy transition to get out from underneath dependence on that Russian oil and gas, but it’s going to take time and during that period the products that come from American producers here in the United States are absolutely vital to the energy security and national security of our allies around the world.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Lots of great questions here.  I wish we had more time.  We only have a few minutes left.

I think I want to end with a question about the role of Alaska in the larger Arctic region and how you see our relationships and activity in the Arctic evolving of which Alaska is a part in these coming years.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  I’ll try the geopolitics of it to begin with and just to say first of all, I think this is a really important topic.  It’s one that’s of growing relevance in Washington.  It’s really Senators Murkowski and Sullivan that have led the charge in raising attention to this but the Biden administration has also stepped forward with an Arctic strategy.  We have a nominee to be our Ambassador for Arctic Issues.  Last September at the UN General Assembly I was able to participate in a meeting that our counselor Derek Chollet had with foreign ministers from all of the Arctic Council countries, and you realize that this assortment of states, we’re all grappling with similar issues.  Issues of climate change, issues of mining and critical minerals, issues of disruption to indigenous communities whose lifestyles and environment are changing from year to year.  And it’s a set of issues that nobody really thought about because we took this region for granted.  So I think in terms of geopolitics, very much on the agenda.

I think this is another areas where part of my responsibility in this visit is to listen to Alaskan voices and understand how people here are thinking about these issues and how in Washington we can reflect your concerns and your priorities in these conversations that we’re having with other countries.

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Let me just add, Alaska is not only incredibly important for all things that happen in the Arctic.  Of course the part of the Arctic that’s in Alaska, but around the world as well, and an awful lot of work through the Arctic Council and other mechanisms.  We need Alaska leadership there.

As Geoff so well put it, Alaska is a powerhouse in the Pacific in the Indo-Pacific region.  An incredibly important region, an increasingly important region, and it’s terrific again to have someone of the caliber of our ambassador in Japan doing what he’s doing day in and day out for US interests but also Alaskan interests going forward along those lines.

Alaska is and will need to be even more a clean energy powerhouse.  There is no doubt about that.  I’m not, again, just speaking as the Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Energy, but also as an Energy Analyst.  We’re not going to be successful in those clean energy technologies at pace and scale, all the supply chains, unless Alaska becomes an even bigger clean energy powerhouse throughout the range of technology areas and throughout the supply chain going forward.  We just need to work together and we need to do that in a way that’s first and foremost good for Alaskans, good for Alaska, good for the US, and it certainly will be good for the world as well.

MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.

With that I’d like to thank our two panelists this morning —  Assistant Secretary Geoffrey Pyatt and Deputy Secretary Dave Turk.  Thank you so much.

U.S. Department of State

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