A year of war in Ukraine has 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 to rebuild after World War II. Now, we need a Clean Energy Marshall Plan to help Ukraine rebuild with the security of knowing that it 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 war’s end as millions of Ukrainians are suffering in frigid winter temperatures without electricity. Already 7 million citizens have been forced to leave Ukraine.
We can rebuild the infrastructure 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 because it does not have single points of failure. For instance, if nine out of the United States’ 55,000 substations were attacked, it could cause a blackout from coast to coast. This is one of the reasons by 2035 every Army base will be powered with a smart electric microgrid.
Destroyed gasoline 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 increase oil and gas production to address this international security threat because 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; it takes years and billions of dollars to expand capacity. Europe has been using 500 billion cubic meters of gas, of which 40 percent 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 still deliberately supplies less oil than it can — keeping prices artificially high. Every single OPEC nation, and most of the OPEC Plus nations, uses authoritarian methods to control their populations and exert global influence. They can do this because 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 were looking for new partnerships. Connecting U.S. cities and municipalities with Ukrainian counterparts will help implement 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 Russian President Vladimir 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 United States, and its 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, strengthen global security and increase clean energy production. Let’s take action now.