Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted April 25, 2016
During a speech last week to labor union officials, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked big about the need for big infrastructure in this country. Gov. Cuomo mentioned the building of the Erie Canal in the 1800s, the interstate highway system that was launched in the 1950s and the construction of big bridges. The North America’s Building Trades Unions audience cheered and clapped warmly when Cuomo called for the vision and leadership needed for America to once again build big infrastructure:
“We built this nation into the greatest nation on the globe with our hands and sweat. That was the American way. We were tough, we were gutsy, we were daring, and there was no challenge that we wouldn’t take on, and we built this country and we regained that spirit of energy and positivity and ambition. … We can do these big projects. We did do these big projects … The George Washington Bridge, the Verrazano Bridge, hundreds of miles of subway system under New York, an 80-mile aqueduct built in the 1800s just to get water to New York City. We never said no …”
The next day, Cuomo’s administration said no – to the proposed $683 million Constitution natural gas pipeline. No to infrastructure – privately financed at that. No to the construction jobs wanted by the folks who cheered the governor the day before. No to consumers in New York state, who’d benefit from abundant, clean-burning natural gas, piped into a number of the state’s southern counties from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale.
And some wonder why so many Americans are cynical about politicians.
Posted April 20, 2016
Americans in the building construction trades know the importance of new energy infrastructure. Building things is what they do. In recent years they’ve recognized the value of partnering with the oil and natural gas industry on infrastructure projects to deliver energy, create jobs and boost the economy – all benefits of America’s ongoing energy revolution.
At this week’s Washington legislative conference of North America’s Building Trades Union, NABTU President Sean McGarvey listed energy infrastructure among the union’s top priorities in 2016 and noted the importance of forming partnerships to advance shared goals, such as infrastructure:
“There are other ways, too, in which our unions are building that go beyond the jobsite, such as building a new labor-management paradigm in the United States through formal partnerships with entire industries and individual companies.”
Nowhere is this dynamic more timely and important than in the effort to build new natural gas pipelines in the Northeast, where constricted capacity historically has contributed to higher energy costs during peak winter months.
Posted April 19, 2016
The United States has about 25,000 miles of navigable waterways and channels – vital transportation infrastructure for the delivery of raw materials and products that American consumers count on every day. Yet, as vital as these waterways are, they don’t always get as much attention as highways, roads and railroads.
With Congress likely to take up legislation that will include funding for waterways in the next month or so, it’s a good time to link that debate with the critical role water-borne commerce plays.
Posted April 8, 2016
Great discussion this week at a program focused on the role of natural gas in America’s future economy, hosted by the Hudson Institute. The discussion couldn’t have been timelier, given surging U.S. natural gas production and the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s recent projection that for the first time ever, natural gas will be the United States’ No. 1 fuel source for electricity generation this year.
Yet, the natural gas discussion quickly, necessarily, turns into a conversation about building new gas infrastructure – needed to serve areas that for lack of infrastructure are either isolated from the resource or the supply is significantly constrained, impacting utilities, consumers and businesses.
Posted April 1, 2016
April 1 marks the beginning of national Safe Digging Month and the annual campaign reminding U.S. homeowners and professionals with digging projects to make the free 811 call to help avoid damaging underground utilities, including power and natural gas lines.
It’s critically important. According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the United States has more than 20 million miles of underground utilities which, if accidentally damaged by digging, can have significant negative outcomes – virtually all of them avoidable if an 811 call is made before the digging begins.
Posted January 28, 2016
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that a number of recently completed and soon-to-be-completed pipeline projects are expected to increase access to natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions, providing valuable linkage between production centers and consumers or export terminals.
We see the increase in natural gas pipeline capacity in the Northeast region, which is particularly critical because the Northeast has suffered negative effects from energy infrastructure limitations. EIA estimates that Northeast residents paid up to 68 percent more for electricity than the national average in the winter of 2014, while industrial users paid up to 105 percent more for electricity than the national average. Indeed, greater capacity is key to staving off economic penalties that could stem from insufficient infrastructure. One study estimated that failure to expand natural gas and electricity infrastructure in the Northeast could cost the region’s households and businesses $5.4 billion in higher energy costs and more than 167,000 private-sector and construction jobs between 2016 and 2020.
So this is good news for the Northeast, but also other regions.
Posted January 8, 2016
The United States is overdue for a fact-based conversation about energy infrastructure. The needs are great. IHS estimates that needed energy infrastructure through the middle of the next decade could spur $1.15 trillion in private capital investment and support more than 1 million jobs. But there are roadblocks.
The long fight over the Keystone XL pipeline has anti-progress, anti-fossil fuel advocates targeting other needed projects. During his State of American Energy 2016 remarks this week, API President and CEO Jack Gerard warned that ideological opposition to infrastructure will hurt the United States:
“The demonization of the Keystone XL pipeline remains a powerful cautionary tale of the dangers of energy policy driven by ideology rather than economic reality and has a chilling effect on expansion efforts for our nation’s energy infrastructure. That’s not just bad national energy policy. It is also bad news for our nation’s economy.”
Thus the need for a rational conversation about the country’s infrastructure needs that’s based on fact. Such as: America’s more than 199,000 miles of liquid pipelines deliver about 16 billion barrels of crude oil and petroleum products a year, with a safety rate of 99.999 percent. And another: Industry keeps working toward a goal of zero incidents by continually improving safety in the infrastructure sector.
Posted January 7, 2016
At this year’s State of American Energy event, we highlighted the impact of energy policy on the lives and livelihoods of families and businesses in every state. The connection between policy and pocketbooks is evident after a year in which Americans saved an average $550 per driver on gasoline, due largely to strong U.S. oil and natural gas production. But to maintain the economic and security benefits of America’s 21st century energy renaissance, we’ll need to make smart policy choices that increase access to energy resources, encourage infrastructure development, rein in misguided ethanol policy and curb costly, duplicative regulations.
Posted January 6, 2016
During this week’s State of American Energy event API President and CEO Jack Gerard described the economic and energy security gains generated by the U.S. energy revolution and the policies needed to create opportunities for the oil and natural gas industry to continue them.
Today let’s focus on some of the things Gerard identified as potential impediments to American energy. These include ideological opposition to progress, anti-consumer initiatives like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), anti-market programs like the administration’s Clean Power Plan, government red tape and regulatory overreach.
Posted December 16, 2015
As winter approaches, the good news continues with the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Winter Fuels Outlook. Due to a “combination of warmer weather and lower fuel prices,” EIA projects household heating costs will be lower than the previous two winters.