Hearing exposes divides on AI’s energy needs, permitting

By Kelsey Brugger | 06/05/2024 06:20 AM EDT

Lawmakers explored the technology’s rising power demands and whether grid legislation is needed.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, Climate and Grid Security Chair Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.). Francis Chung/POLITICO

Lawmakers from both parties agreed that Tuesday’s House Energy and Commerce hearing on artificial intelligence’s skyrocketing energy needs could not come soon enough.

But the session revealed how far apart Democrats and Republicans are apart on a response.

Energy, Climate and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) set the tone by focusing on competition with U.S. adversaries, namely China.


AI, cryptocurrencies and data centers make up about 2 percent of global energy demand, according to the International Energy Agency. That’s only expected to increase in the coming years.