Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on July 25, 2022
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on June 9, 2023
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 22, 2023
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports a national energy generation and production policy that promotes a broad, balanced energy portfolio. The portfolio should include development of clean and renewable energy sources while encouraging energy conservation and efficiency and considering the viability of future energy sources under changing environmental conditions and societal demands. Specifically, the policy should:
- Support the adoption of a federal energy policy that considers and responds to a changing mix of energy sources to provide clear direction for meeting current and future demands.
- Expand domestic development for clean, efficient energy production and generation to meet the nation’s energy demand while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Promote the use of energy sources, production, and generation methods that allow for affordable and accessible energy by all members of the community and lessen the burden of energy production on environmental justice communities (see PS 570 - Environmental justice).
- Support the use of good engineering and industry practices that protect public health, safety, water resources, and the environment during the exploration and production of energy resources and energy generation.
- Reduce the climate impacts and other environmental impacts and long-term management responsibilities including waste products associated with energy production and generation and impacts on wildlife during energy production and generation.
- Support the maintenance, development, and continual assessment of reliability and resiliency improvements of energy production and generation infrastructure based upon reasonable projections of increased demand, shifting sources of generation, and the need to maintain the nation's energy reliability and security.
- The modernization of licensing regulations for new energy production and generation projects, as well as improvements to existing relicensing regulations and implementation.
Population growth and economic development continue to create demands for increased energy production and generation. Changing environmental conditions affect both the demands for energy and the generation and distribution of energy. All energy production methods and generation sources are associated with varying climate, environmental, economic, and social impacts.
ASCE recognizes the importance of a diverse energy production and generation portfolio. A diverse energy production and generation portfolio will not only yield reduced social, climate, and other environmental impacts but result in more economical and reliable supplies of energy for the future. However, we must ensure that current and future impacts are considered when looking to meet the increasing energy production and generation needs of the U.S.
The prudent management of our national energy resources and the timely development of new energy technologies are public policy issues of concern to ASCE. Continued economical, reliable, safe, and environmentally responsible energy production and generation is a necessity in the U.S. This need is critical to industrial and commercial expansion, economic growth and stability, and enhanced energy security. The planning and development of energy sources in a responsible manner has long been a role of civil engineers. A market-driven national energy policy that prioritizes short- and long-term needs and better aligns funding mechanisms and sustainable and reliable energy systems is needed. Energy production has, and continues to, increase since the 1950s and the distribution of sources varies.
Due to the impacts on climate and potential hazards to the environment and public health from developing energy production and generation activities, appropriate regulation and oversight are needed. However, the current licensing, amendment, and relicensing processes for some energy generation sources is extremely complex, costly, and time-consuming, discouraging the development of new energy production facilities. These factors must be addressed to allow for the creation and adoption of a market-driven national energy policy that promotes a balanced approach to meeting current and future demands.
ASCE Policy Statement 571
First Approved 2023