Divorce Pending: Can Natural Gas and Renewables Survive as a Couple?
by Keith Mauck
The natural gas lobby has pinned much of its future hopes on the ability to serve as the "faithful partner" to renewable energy, primarily wind and solar. T. Boone combined natural gas with wind - before dropping the wind. A visit to the Natural Gas Aliance's
website, and you find that they have staked their postions on the ability to wed natural gas and renewables. The latest being the hiring of Peter Robertson, the former Chief of Staff to EPA Administrator Carol Browner. Currently, Ms. Browner is serving as the Director for the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. I assume his role will be to cozy up to the White House and carve out a limited niche for natural gas; though you know what they say about those who assume.
Well, Amy Myers Jaffe gave this question some national legs yesterday in the WSJ
writing, "The shale boom also is likely to upend the economics of renewable energy. It may be a lot harder to persuade people to adopt green power that needs heavy subsidies when there's a cheap, plentiful fuel out there that's a lot cleaner than coal, even if gas isn't as politically popular as wind or solar."
My question, how long will the "greenies" (as T. Boone Pickens affectionately reffers to them) tolerate a hydrocarbon intruding on their turf. We see a few ancillary battles, primarily in the Marcellus and now with the Transocean disaster that will probably serve as a anti-hydrocarbon-policy conduit for a Whitehouse that had already stepped into offshore drilling with trepidation. After all, greenies unabashedly point to the need to make energy more expensive in order to move us to renewables more quickly. An induced renewable energy birth of sorts. At best, many of the current policy makers, who hold power, see natural gas as a conduit to get us to more renewables, which means less natural gas, within the next few decades. How many of you are willing to concede this?
When I consider natural gas, I see a long term solution that will be going strong for my children and beyond. How about you?
As for how I think we should frame our side of the debate? As I posted on facebook,
"I think natural gas wins an aspect of the energy argument hands down w/o "buying" their way into energy policy - (ie traditional uses like heating/cooking, manufacturing, new uses like transportation). The last 100 years have been based on oil-let's base the next 100 years+ on NG. I think the way to do this is to win the debate of ideas. American people understand common sense-usually. lol. If this is about who can buy their way into it, energy policy will simply change from administration to administration; like financial regulation."
If you're jaded like me, you probably laughed at thought of the "debate of ideas." However, if our current crop of elected officials don't buy into this, it's up to us to elect those, republican or democrat, who do. We need officials who look to reason and the best argument. After all, this is what's best for our nation. That is truly how we enhance our future standing and set our kids up for success.