Response to Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice President for Energy Union

EU flag over renewable energy. (AP Photos)

Response to Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice President for Energy Union

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Kate M. Byrnes
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
May 18, 2017

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The United States warmly welcomes European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič to the OSCE Permanent Council.  

The United States agrees that peace and security are strongly linked with energy security and the protection of critical infrastructure.  Energy security has long been a U.S. foreign policy priority, which we have worked to address in concert with the European Union.  Guaranteeing the supply of energy, providing the right investment and regulatory environment, increasing domestic energy supplies, diversifying energy sources, protecting our critical energy infrastructure, and ensuring responsible environmental practices are each essential components of U.S. policy.  Our need for energy security also goes hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship.  Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources remain of key importance to the United States.  

The United States shares your view, Vice President Šefčovič, that we should continue to enable and attract investments in sustainable energy.  As you have stated, removing regulatory barriers, encouraging investments and risk-taking, and providing a stable and predictable market for low carbon and energy-efficient technologies are important elements of this approach.  As we have seen in the United States, an attractive investment and regulatory environment has helped to unleash market forces necessary for a clean energy revolution.  

The American renewable energy sector continues to expand steadily, and now generates hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity in the United States.  To date, 22 of the Fortune 100 companies have committed to eventually procuring 100 percent of their energy from renewable energy.  The business sector is responding and driving change toward cleaner energy.  

Alongside the renewable energy revolution, the so-called shale revolution has also had a dramatic impact on both prices and energy security.  Looking forward, the United States will continue to develop shale oil and gas resources, including the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves in our country, in order to boost jobs and stimulate economic growth.  

An integral part of guaranteeing the security of energy supply is addressing cybersecurity in the energy sector.  We share the view that resilient energy systems must be able to respond effectively to cyber threats and maintain critical functions.  Malicious activities in cyberspace by state and non-state actors, as well as emerging global trends that challenge an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable cyberspace, threaten our critical infrastructure, digital economy, and economic growth.  Therefore, the United States remains committed to enhancing cybersecurity in the energy sector.  Earlier this month, the President issued an Executive Order that focuses on strengthening the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, including power plants, and oil and gas pipelines.  Virtually every part of our critical infrastructure relies on electricity to sustain its operations, making this sector uniquely critical for both essential services and our national security.

In sum, Vice President Šefčovič, the United States remains a steadfast partner of the European Union on energy security and energy-related policy.  We are grateful for your presence in the Permanent Council, and thank you for your important message today.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.