By Catherine Reheis-Boyd, WSPA President & CEO
As we embark on 2024, a year brimming with potential yet riddled with uncertainties, it’s crucial for consumers and businesses to seek guidance and reassurance from our leaders and regulatory bodies. This year, marked by a significant presidential election, escalating global tensions, and an unpredictable economic landscape, calls for decisive action and clear direction.
As we think about the energy sector in particular, it is more important than ever to lead with facts, accept certain realities about untenable current policies and bring equity to the forefront of our future strategies. This year, we urge lawmakers and regulatory bodies to approach these challenges with a blend of pragmatism and vision.
Our focus must be on developing practical solutions that address real-world issues. These solutions should not only foster a cleaner environment but also bolster a robust economy and a thriving society. It’s essential to recognize that these goals are not mutually exclusive but rather complementary.
In 2024, we need legislators and policymakers to ask tough questions about energy policy. Policy without capability will never get us where we need to go. As we head throughout the year, it is my hope we can all ask ourselves:
- Can California afford the energy policies we are currently pushing? California’s recent proposed state budget speaks loud and clear that our energy policies are too expensive to be realistic, with cuts to climate programs and energy subsidies front and center.
- Should consumers and businesses accept an unreliable energy supply in the name of sustainability? At a time when our energy demands are growing at an unprecedented pace, we should embrace strategies to safeguard energy supply and costs, rather than gamble with uncertainties.
- Who are we leaving behind, and at what cost, in rushing an ‘all-electric’ transition? An energy future that leaves behind California’s working families, underserved communities, small business owners (and anyone else who can’t afford to go all-electric) isn’t realistic. We must work together to bring all-of-the-above energy solutions to our communities.
- Is it fair to stifle broad energy innovation by choosing just one energy technology? By mandating preference to some energy forms and not others, innovative technologies that can immediately help reduce emissions and support a lower carbon economy will fail.
- What happens to the hundreds of thousands of oil and gas workers whose livelihoods are being threatened by current policy? The ramifications to our workforce and economy will devastate entire communities while simultaneously threatening the energy security of our nation.
We hope policymakers take these important questions to heart this year to provide the public the security and peace of mind we need and deserve. We’re optimistic about the future, and all its possibilities. We all want a thriving economy with lower emissions, but we need a sustainable energy future that works for everyone. And that future is possible if we embrace all energy sources to meet our needs safely, sustainably, reliably and affordably.