The United States Energy Association issued a letter from its acting executive director, Sheila Hollis, examining the global state of the industry over the past year and amid the ongoing pandemic. Hollis makes reference to an overall stabilization of the global energy situation, while the United States oil and natural gas prices slowly rebound following the plummet the industry experienced in 2020.
Read excerpts from the letter, originally published on the USEA website here, below.
One year ago, the snow globe of our world was turned upside down and the prospect of a busy year full of business meetings, receptions, lunches, dinners, celebrations, and travel was ripped away from us. Lives were completely disrupted, and uncertainty was on the horizon. Much of the world suffered and millions of lives have been lost.
The economic impact was unprecedented, and the energy economy was not spared as travel, commercial demand, and energy-dependent lifestyles were stopped in their tracks. In the first month of the pandemic, 106,000 clean energy jobs were lost. In the U.S., overall energy demand fell to a 17-year low by early May 2020.
Oil and natural gas prices plummeted. The United States, well on its way to becoming the global leader in LNG exports, faced the prospect of closing existing LNG facilities and halting construction of new ones. As I wrote last April, some unfortunately celebrated this impact on the fossil fuel industry. What was ignored is that such a development reverberates across the world economy, through many American households, and through the lives of many worldwide.
Today, the world energy situation is stabilizing as the pandemic begins to loosen its grip on the world’s economy. Energy businesses and its people are resilient and, last month, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that electricity use in the United States may reach pre-pandemic levels by 2022, and renewable energy could account for 60% of that capacity. The oil and natural gas industry is rebounding.
Hollis remembered previous Executive Director Barry Worthington, and the actions the USEA took to ensure a smooth transition of leadership following his passing.
Five months into the pandemic in August, our beloved Executive Director Barry Worthington suddenly passed away.
After Barry’s passing, we knew we had to move forward to honor him and fulfill our obligations to our members, our contract partners, and the broader energy community. Thus, we have held three major signature, virtual forums: the Advanced Energy Technology Forum, the Energy Efficiency Forum, and the State of the Energy Industry Forum.
Hollis also examined successes and accomplishments made by the association over the past year:
We hosted over 150 virtual workshops and webinars with our partners at USAID, the State Department, and the Department of Energy to educate the American energy community and international stakeholders. We reinvigorated a Virtual Press Briefing series, covering cutting-edge topics, such as green hydrogen and 5G networks.
We created internal weekly and external monthly newsletters to apprise our Board, staff, members, contract partners, and all other interested parties of our ongoing work. We have held internal staff town halls and meetings with our Program Directors. Our USAID contracts move forward apace and are being fulfilled; new contracts have begun and our schedules are filled with commitments and activities. Speeches have been delivered, presentations have been made, and roundtables, fireside chats, and other outreach and communication efforts have gone forward at an intense pace.