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Breaking News:

Asia Coal Imports Remain Strong in June

Biden Wants Big Tech To Invest in Power Generation for AI Boom

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has revealed that President Joe Biden's administration has been talking to major technology companies to invest in climate-friendly electricity generation to meet their surging demand. 

The ongoing artificial intelligence (AI) boom has been driving a surge in power demand with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) predicting that data centers will gobble-up up to 9% of total electricity generated in the United States by the end of the decade, up from ~1.5% currently, as reported by Scientific American. 

For the first time in decades, demand for electricity in the U.S. is projected to grow by as much as 15% over the next decade, a trend likely to complicate Biden’s goal to decarbonize the power sector by 2035.

We've been talking with data companies. The large ones have commitments to net-zero and would like to see clean baseload power. If the tech companies are coming in and are going to pull clean power from the grid, they should bring the power with them. And so a lot of that conversation is happening right now among tech companies and utilities, tech companies and nuclear companies," Granholm has told Reuters in an interview.

Last month, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the first major electric transmission policy update in over a decade in a bid to speed up new interregional lines to help the grid cope with rocketing demand. The new rule marks FERC’s first-ever update on long-term transmission planning that will go a long way to helping the Biden administration achieve its ambitious goal to generate 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035. 

To meet that ambitious target, the U.S. needs to expand interregional transmission capacity more than fivefold and more than double regional transmission capacity, a  U.S. Department of Energy study revealed in November.

"This rule cannot come fast enough," FERC Chairman Willie Phillips, who voted in favor of the final rule, told Reuters. "There is an urgent need to act to ensure the reliability and the affordability of our grid. We are at a transformational moment for the electric grid with phenomenal load growth," he added, citing proliferation of data centers, surge in domestic manufacturing and increasing extreme weather events.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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