The Trump administration intends to define what it means by "clean energy" during a week-long series of discussions, media appearances and discussions with businesses to explain its ideas for an America First energy plan, according to Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Perry told reporters Monday that "Energy Week" will be used to explain a term the administration refers to as "energy dominance," which will have a lot to do with exporting natural gas from fracking, but also will include how the administration intends to advance clean energy through its support of advanced technology and nuclear power.
"This week will also reaffirm our commitment to clean energy," Perry said. "The binary choice between being pro-economy and pro-environment that was perpetuated by the Obama administration, it set up a false argument," he said. "We can do good for both, and we will."
He said that got lost when President Trump announced his June 1 decision to leave the Paris climate change agreement.
"There was one fact missing from the headlines of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement, and that is the U.S. already leads the world in lowering emissions," Perry told reporters from the White House. "And we've done this through innovation and technology, not signing onto agreements."
Perry said clean coal technologies supported by the federal government already are helping to meet that goal.
"We have already seen the fruits of clean technology, like CCUS — Carbon Capture, Utilization, Sequestration — right here in the United States," he said. "The Petra Nova facility in my home state of Texas ... uses a process to remove 90 percent of the carbon dioxide after coal is burned in that power plant."
Perry has talked about making those technologies available to the export market as they become commercially viable. Currently, however, experts say the technology is still decades from being available commercially.
The technologies have not led to the decline in emissions that Perry referred to, instead the drop has been mostly caused by the closure of coal plants in favor of natural gas power plants. Even as Texas opened the Petra Nova plant, a similar plant in Mississippi was ordered by the state regulator to use natural gas because the CCUS technology was too expensive.
Despite the advancements being made on the clean technology side, much of Energy Week will have to do with natural gas exports, while looking for inroads for other resources.
"American companies have already exported natural gas to our international trading partners in Europe and Asia," he said. "Unleashing our full energy potential will lead to very robust job growth and expansion in every sector of our economy."
A senior administration official said natural gas will play the largest role in enacting the president's energy agenda, but the real focus is on an "all-of-the-above" strategy that supports nuclear power plants, clean coal and other advanced technologies.
Perry also emphasized the role of the administration in rolling back regulatory red tape that prevented the U.S. from becoming energy dominant in the past.
"For years Washington stood in the way of our energy dominance, and that changes now," he said.
"At [the Energy Department] and across the administration, we are ending the bureaucratic blockade that has hindered American energy creation," he said. "We are looking to help, not hinder, energy producers and job creators. These collective actions are just the beginning of the America First energy strategy that has us all on our way to energy dominance."
Perry said an "energy-dominant America means a self-reliant, a secure nation free from geopolitical turmoil of other nations that are set to use energy as an economic weapon." Under the new agenda, "America will export to markets around the world, increasing global leadership and influence. Becoming energy dominant means that we can share our energy wealth with developing nations."