Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted September 26, 2017
We support all-of-the-above energy – the concept that America is strongest and its citizens are best served when all of our country’s energy sources play their part. We’re also for the important role markets play in determining energy sources, because markets reward innovation, spur efficiency, lower prices and work to benefit consumers. That said, a new study that basically argues market-distorting subsidies enjoyed by some energies should be followed by market-distorting subsidies for others makes little sense.
Posted September 21, 2017
For a number of months we’ve been talking about the need for more efficient and predictable federal processes for the permitting of energy infrastructure – including new natural gas pipelines and added capacity. New, bipartisan legislation introduced this week in the U.S. Senate is latest move in that direction.
Posted September 19, 2017
Looking at the benefits of natural gas in a state such as New Jersey – lower consumer costs, jobs, environmental progress – it makes no sense to risk what works for New Jerseyans by handing state subsidies to nuclear plants. New Jersey voters agree: A strong, bipartisan majority opposes the idea in a new poll.
Posted September 19, 2017
API has a new group director for Market Development – former Ohio Public Utilities Commissioner Todd Snitchler. He heads a team that is focused on increasing market opportunities for abundant natural gas, which is benefiting consumers and manufacturers while advancing U.S. climate goals. In addition to serving as Ohio PUC chairman and chairing the Power Siting Board of Ohio, Snitchler was elected twice to the state’s House of Representatives.
Posted April 11, 2016
Two questions posed by the Times: How to explain a departure from the historical linkage between economic growth and increased carbon emissions? And, can the decoupling of economic growth and rising emissions be a model for the rest of the world?
The explanation isn’t all that complicated. We’ve talked about it for a number of months (see here and here). It’s natural gas. The increased use of clean-burning, domestically produced natural gas is the main reason the United States leading the world in reducing carbon emissions during a period of economic growth.
Posted March 22, 2016
We’ve read the articles about how affordable natural gas – much of it from the Marcellus Shale in next-door Pennsylvania – has benefitted New York and specifically New York City. So it’s puzzling to hear about a recent effort in New York to block expansion of an Upstate natural gas storage plant in the name of a “climate emergency,” as one activist put it – puzzling because natural gas is doing more to reduce U.S. emissions than any other fuel. The New York Times reports:
“The irony is this,” said Phil West, a spokesman for Spectra Energy, whose pipeline projects, including those in New York State, have come under attack. “The shift to additional natural gas use is a key contributor to helping the U.S. reduce energy-related emissions and improve air quality.”
Unfortunately, this is an example of out-of-the-mainstream activism at work, threatening to roll back important American progress on emissions that has occurred during a period of economic growth and rising domestic energy output. We say this is out of the mainstream because we reckon the real alarm would sound among New Yorkers if access to affordable natural gas got harder for lack of infrastructure – pipelines, pumping stations, storage installations and the like.
Posted March 4, 2016
Just recently saw this article on National Geographic.com, suggesting the United States made a significant shift in its energy economy in 2015:
Consider what happened last year alone. The amount of electricity from coal-fired power plants hit a record low while that from natural gas generators hit a record high. Also, renewable energy added the most new power to the electric grid, and annual carbon emissions reached a 20-year low.
First, a reminder that new power capacity added to the grid doesn’t translate directly to new power. Below, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows that in terms of electricity generation change (from 2014 to 2015) at utility-scale facilities and including distributed solar, natural gas led in net generation:
That’s not knocking renewables, just an illustration of today’s energy reality and a reminder of the oft-overlooked energy, economic and climate benefits accruing to the United States from increasing natural gas use.
Posted December 22, 2015
What would the holidays be without energy? Sure, you could still roast your chestnuts – provided you had an open fire. And you still might find your way around on a dark, foggy night – with help from a certain reindeer. But in many cities and towns things would be significantly less jolly and less festive, even if it looked like snow.
Enter energy – and more specifically, natural gas.
Posted December 14, 2015
The New York Times reports that weekend exultation over the new global climate agreement was quickly replaced by the realization that talking about emissions goals in Paris could be dwarfed by what it takes to produce actual results:
Before the applause had even settled … world leaders warned that momentum from the historic accord must not be allowed to dissipate. “Today, we celebrate,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s energy commissioner and top climate negotiator. “Tomorrow, we have to act.” With nearly every nation on Earth having now pledged to gradually reduce emissions of the heat-trapping gases … much of the burden for maintaining the momentum shifts back to the countries to figure out, and carry out, the concrete steps needed to deliver on their vows.
Actually, the figuring out part has been done and real emissions reductions have been realized in the United States – without the heavy hand of government, without one-size-fits-all frameworks, without economy-hamstringing interventions.
Posted September 21, 2015
The third in a series of posts on the intersection of energy development and policy and the pursuit of climate goals. Last week: The Clean Power Plan’s flawed approach in the energy sector and the role of increased natural gas use in improving air quality. Today: The impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard and federal ethanol policy.
A decade ago Congress passed legislation creating the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – requiring escalating volumes of ethanol in the U.S. fuel supply – that was intended in part to help reduce crude oil imports while capitalizing the supposed environmental advantages of ethanol.
Crude oil imports indeed have been falling since 2008. But, as we’ve detailed before, virtually all of the decrease is due to rising domestic crude oil production, not the RFS. Thanks to vast domestic shale reserves and safe hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. is the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas – which by far has had the most to do with reducing U.S. net crude imports.