FUTURE ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURES: ENGAGEMENTS WITH THE ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE––A RESEARCH REPORTReport
The United States is in the midst of a transition in the production and distribution of energy. This transition was, in part, instigated by technological advancements and policy mechanisms that allowed for the recovery of unconventional fossil fuels from shale formations. In parallel, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are becoming increasingly competitive with fossil fuels. Furthermore, the nation’s population is moving away from the Northeast and Midwest regions to southeastern and western states. These changes are straining the nation’s aging energy transportation infrastructure and revealing system vulnerabilities, while also inviting questions about the long-term economic and environmental implications of reliance upon the existing energy infrastructure.
The current federal approach through FERC does serve to facilitate interactions between the states and Federal government. Any argument for state authority certainly violates the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3). The profit-maximizing approach, while efficient at yielding high returns for capital investments by private corporations, appears to be inequitably distributing the risks among the poor and elderly living in rural communities; wealthy and predominately younger communities in urban regions are favored. What might serve the United States better is a national dialogue on energy in each and every state and between bordering states, to draw out priorities that can inform future energy infrastructure planning efforts across the nation as a means to address the societal and environmental issues related to energy investments.
Energy Infrastructure, Planning Processes, Civic Engagement
University of Virginia
October 20, 2017
This project was supported by the 4-VA research fund and conducted in collaboration among scholars from the University of Virginia and James Madison University. The findings and observations contained in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the 4-VA program or the university sponsors.