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Barrasso: POWER UP Act Will Help Fight Global Energy Poverty

Gray DC Bureau: Sen. John Barrasso
Gray DC Bureau: Sen. John Barrasso
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 12:19 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Release) - Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced legislation to help fight global energy poverty. The Providing Opportunities With Energy Resources to Uproot Poverty Act, or the POWER UP Act, prohibits the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) from implementing or enforcing restrictions on the source of energy used by a power generation project that provides affordable electricity to developing countries.

“The best way to help lift people in the developing world out of poverty is by giving them access to affordable and reliable energy,” said Barrasso. “The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is undermining these efforts by caving to liberal critics who want to end financing for critical coal, oil and gas-powered projects. These restrictions will slow economic growth and job creation in the world’s least developed countries that are already struggling to keep the lights on. The solution to ending energy poverty does not lie in limiting options. Our bill prohibits the DFC from enforcing restrictions on projects that are powered by traditional energy resources.”

Recently, the DFC announced a plan to halt all fossil fuel investments by 2030 in order to achieve a net zero portfolio by 2040. The DFC is limiting CO2 emissions from new projects to the equivalent of one medium-sized 400 MW combined cycle gas plant per year. This means the DFC will only be able to finance a total of eight more natural gas power plants globally and forever.

Abandoning financing of gas projects will slow economic growth and job creation. Developing countries will not be able to achieve the economic development needed to alleviate poverty without a continuous, abundant and reliable base load energy. They will not be able to run a manufacturing plant, a hospital or a data center on only renewable energy power sources.

Barrasso’s bill is cosponsored by Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Boozman (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Rick Scott (R-FL), and James Lankford (R-OK).

Background:

The DFC placing restrictions on the world’s least developed countries would further global energy disparities but have virtually no impact on global emissions. According to the Energy for Growth Hub, Americans use more electricity playing video games than all of Nigeria, a nation of 200 million people. In fact, all of Africa, with a population of 1.3 billion people, accounts for a little more than 3% of total global electricity generation. If Africa tripled its electricity consumption based only on natural gas, it would add less than 1 percent to annual global emissions.

The Providing Opportunities With Energy Resources to Uproot Poverty Act or the “POWER UP Act”:

(1) Prohibits the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) from implementing or enforcing restrictions on the source of energy used by a power generation project that provides affordable electricity to developing countries.

(2) Limits the ability of the Board to reject power generation projects to developing countries based on the source of energy used in the project.

(3) Requires the DFC to promote a technology and fuel neutral, all of the above energy development strategy for developing countries that includes the use of oil, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and geothermal power and other sources.

Countries helped: The bill applies to 74 countries. There are 59 countries that are International Development Association (IDA)-only and 15 IDA blend countries.

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