The plan is a crucial opportunity to help undermine Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, strengthen global security, and increase clean energy production. First published in The Sun Journal February 26, 2022 Op-ed by Alex Cornell du Houx, a Marine combat veteran, a former Maine state lawmaker, and president of Elected Officials to Protect America, a network of current and former […]
Op-ed by Alex Cornell du Houx, a Marine combat veteran, a former Maine state lawmaker, and president of Elected Officials to Protect America, a network of current and former elected officials committed to climate action. He lives in Solon.
A year of war in Ukraine has starkly shown how fossil fuels make our world less safe and dependent on autocratic dictators.
The Marshall Plan, an audacious, innovative strategy, provided Europe with the stimulus needed to rapidly rebuild after World War II. Now we need a Clean Energy Marshall Plan to help Ukraine rebuild with the security of knowing that they won’t be vulnerable to oil and gas fluctuations, and the dangers of being dependent on fossil fuels ever again.
It would be inhumane to wait for the end of the war, as millions of Ukrainians are suffering in frigid winter temperatures without electricity. Already seven million souls have been forced to leave Ukraine.
We can rebuild the infrastructure that has been hit by drones and missiles with smart microgrids, and make them more resilient right now.
Distributed clean energy is much more resilient against attacks than traditional electric infrastructure, as it does not have single points of failure. For instance in the U.S., if nine out of our 55,000 substations in the U.S. were attacked it could cause a blackout coast-to-coast. This is one of the reasons why, by 2035, every Army base will be powered with a smart electric microgrid.
Destroyed petrol stations can be replaced with interconnected self-sufficient clean energy electric vehicle charging stations that can power transportation — without the need for the grid. Electric minivans and buses can then be used for their battery storage power to provide emergency power for buildings in times of need.
We cannot simply increase oil and gas production to address this international security threat, as it will take too long to ramp up fossil fuel production to meet the crisis while creating other serious dangers.
America’s six LNG plants are already at capacity, and it takes years and billions of dollars to expand capacity. Europe has been using 500 billion cubic meters of gas, of which 40% came from Russia. Even shifting U.S. production from Asia only adds 15 billion cubic meters above the 22 billion cubic meters the U.S. provided last year.
Additionally, OPEC is still deliberately supplying less oil than it can — keeping prices artificially high. Every single OPEC nation, and most of the OPEC Plus nations, use authoritarian methods to control their populations and exert global influence. They can do this because currently, democracies are dependent on this single source of polluting fossil fuel energy.
We can also establish more sister cities with Ukraine. Before the war, many Ukraine cities had sister city agreements with Russian cities and are looking for new partnerships. Connecting U.S. cities and municipalities with Ukrainian counterparts will help with the implementation of the plan — adding additional expertise, finances, and accountability to the process.
We can’t ignore the geopolitical influence the war in Ukraine has on China. Unfortunately, China is helping keep Putin’s gas-powered economy alive by opening a large gas field in eastern Siberia linked by a new pipeline to China.
Chinese and Russian naval and land forces are also continuing joint military training. Chinese warplanes took off from home soil and flew into Russian airspace during drills — a first for the People’s Liberation Army. Russian transport aircraft visiting China numerous times also sparked conjecture that China is airlifting supplies to Russia.
Elected Officials to Protect America is working with lawmakers in the U.S., and their international arm is working with lawmakers in the United Kingdom and Ukraine to provide the resources necessary to rebuild Ukraine with clean energy. It may be a challenge to get the funding through Congress, but if there is any issue that should be nonpartisan this should be it.
The Ukraine Clean Energy Marshall Plan is a crucial opportunity to help undermine Putin’s war in Ukraine, strengthen global security, and increase clean energy production.