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New Priorities For Our Energy Future

Boone Pickens and Ted Turner are well respected businessmen (the former a big  investor and the latter a media mogul and founder of CNN). Both have a history of speaking their mind on public issues and both have a history of making huge sums of money.

While I certainly do not begrudge this gentlemen the right to speak their mind, I wonder if this message (that may be good for America) also is good for their business interests. Mr. Pickens is renown in the energy sector and a large scale switch to natural gas would likely help his wallet. Mr. Turner is a very large landowner in the western States and my gut is that he has found large deposits of natural gas under some of his holdings.

All that being said, I tend to agree with the core of their opinion. The United States should concentrate more on natural gas. It would most likely help the environment and it would help to lessen the choke hold that foreign interests have on our economy.

The following parts of their opinion appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Renewable energy and clean-burning natural gas are the basis of a new strategy the world needs to create a cleaner and more secure future. And the global transformation to a clean-energy economy may be the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. According to the authoritative Potential Gas Committee (administered by the Colorado School of Mines), the U.S. sits on top of massive reservoirs of natural gasan estimated 2,000 trillion cubic feetthat contain more energy than all the oil in Saudi Arabia.

Harnessing this large supplyplus developing wind, solar and biofuel energy sourcesis essential to achieve three strategic national priorities:

Energy security: The internal combustion engine makes us dependent on oil that’s concentrated in a handful of countries in some of the world’s most volatile regions. In June, we imported 374 million barrels of oil, nearly two-thirds of what we used, at a cost of $24.7 billion. With 70% of imported oil going into cars and trucks, our transportation system is perilously at risk to shaky oil markets and even shakier regimes.

Economic security: Last year more than $155 billion was invested in clean energy technologies such as wind and solar, and China and India plan to invest hundreds of billions in renewable energy sources. The annual market for clean energy may escalate in the next decade to between $1 trillion and $2 trillion. The race is on.

Climate security: Likewise, the clock is ticking on potentially devastating climate changes. We already are witnessing the disintegration of polar ice, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and altered weather patterns. But if we act now, we can prevent catastrophic human and economic impacts.

In the electricity sector, natural gas is already cheap, available and ready to meet the nation’s power needs while improving climate security. It emits about half the carbon dioxide per British thermal unit of energy, and far fewer of the heavy metals than does coal.

…New coal plants should be required to combine natural gas with the coal they burn, resulting in cleaner emissions, and every power plant should meet strict carbon-emissions standards.

In the transportation sector, renewable energy and natural gas can also be deployed immediately. For a quarter century, natural-gas vehicle technology has been available but stymied by lack of leadership. Of the 10 million natural gas vehicles in the world, fewer than 150,000 are in the U.S.

We can begin transitioning the nation’s fleet of 6.5 million 18-wheelers that run regular routes. It would take just 20 refueling stations along a single highway to get trucks from one coast to the other. Centrally fueled urban business and government fleets also can quickly move to natural gas. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are in the process of buying new natural gas vehicles for their fleets, and many municipalities are harnessing the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas-powered buses.

The economic, environmental, and national security imperatives of America’s energy posture are clear, as is the proven potential of domestic natural resources like gas, wind and solar power. Coupled with energy efficiency, these resources have the potential to help jump-start the economy, drive prosperity and reduce emissions well into the 21st century. The keys are in our hands. All we have to do is unlock the door and start the engine.

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One Response to “New Priorities For Our Energy Future”

  1. Like you, I’m suspicious of the motives of Turner and Pickens (and Soros and Buffett and Gates and…) but natural gas has the advantage that it can wean us off foreign oil almost as quickly as oil sands and Alaskan crude, and from dirty energy more quickly than renewables (which are still years away from mass production).

    Seems like a win-win to me.