Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Headline of the day


Nooooo.... Say it ain't so!

From the Washington Post:

Cheap natural gas jumbles energy markets, stirs fears it could inhibit renewables

For the past three years, promoters of shale gas and environmentalists opposed to coal-fired power plants have hailed the sudden abundance of U.S. natural gas as a bridge to a renewable-energy future.

But natural gas has become so cheap that many energy experts and environmentalists now wonder whether it will turn into a long, bumpy detour.

U.S. natural gas prices, which hit more than $13 per thousand cubic feet in 2008, have tumbled to about $2.50 per thousand cubic feet. Rapidly rising production of shale gas and a warm winter have created a glut and pushed supplies in storage to 21 percent above the average of the past five years.

That has been good news for consumers, whose gas and electric bills have declined slightly. And it is a hopeful sign for the chemical industry, which uses gas as a raw material, and the makers of electric vehicles. President Obama is promoting the use of natural gas in trucks. And since burning natural gas emits half the greenhouse gases of burning coal, it could cut the quantity of climate-changing emissions.

But cheap gas has also thrown energy markets into turmoil. It is impossible for almost any other source of electric power to compete, especially coal and nuclear. By trimming fuel bills, cheap gas has reduced incentives for energy conservation and efficiency. And it has left solar and wind, despite their own falling costs, heavily dependent on government mandates in California and roughly 30 other states, including Maryland.

This is the long-range encouraging good news that, no pun intended, is bubbling beneath the surface of our energy development sector: we keep finding more and more cheap*, dependable, "friendly" and in the case of natural gas, clean energy sources.

Fortunately, most of the recent natural gas finds in this country have been on private land out of the jurisdiction of the feds who would have the power to ban drilling otherwise.

And as the title of the article and the body of the text suggests, this has Big Green totally freaked out. You see, it's not about a cheap and reliable energy source that gets cleaner and cleaner as the technology employed to extract the energy from that source improves, it's about an agenda. An agenda that must rely upon tax-payer subsidization as it is not yet market-ready and is not nearly as clean as Big Green would have you believe.

Our fantasy is that we fully tap these resources that would help spur a resurgent economy generating the private capital for the research and development of truly clean renewable energy that does not rely on being propped up on the backs of U.S. tax payers. We don't see how terribly radical that is. Sounds like common sense.

* Cheap = green, by the way.


No comments: