Divorce Pending: Can Natural Gas and Renewables Survive as a Couple?

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.

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Tags: Can, Couple?, Divorce, Gas, Natural, Pending:, Renewables, Survive, a, and, More…as

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Comment by Mary Alison Anders Knighton on July 14, 2010 at 17:50
I have rose colored glasses too. I feel that Natural Gas is best...down the line combine Solar and Gas, is that possible. It would work as clean renewable resource. We are at a pivotal point in the energy business. This is the time to make things work. I'm on the same page as you, Bobi.
Comment by Mary Alison Anders Knighton on July 12, 2010 at 19:27
I believe that Natural Gas is a bit more online vs. Solar at this time. I am for both types of energy. I would love to see Natural Gas and Solar work together in the future.

Yes, I too have "jadeism" ..maybe that happens with knowledge and age. "Our" nation is being downgraded because of our allowance from outside resources and basically selling our country out. Where lies our "trust" in "our" government? This is one of the question's of today.

Howard, my hubby,and I are Independent, love Ron Paul..Sara Palin. This is a historical period in time. We want to what's best, as our Constitution is being slowly altered. We love Ron Paul..Sara Palin..etc.... As my Granddaddy said "If you take care of the land it will take care of you and yours for generations to come".
Comment by Bobi Carr ("parker") on May 12, 2010 at 0:00
Maybe Ironman will develop a new element for us (hey it worked in the movie).
Comment by Bobi Carr ("parker") on May 11, 2010 at 14:03
I wished I had the answers. Heck ethanol sounded good to me.

It sounds wonderful that we could eventually end up with 100% renewables, but as with lots of things that sound great to begin with don't always end up that way.
Comment by Keith Mauck (Site Publisher) on May 11, 2010 at 13:40
I have heard "transition" used, but I believe I need a definition. Do you have one handy or your own idea as to what it exactly means? Does it mean 100% renewables. Renewables used in our homes and businesses?
Comment by Bobi Carr ("parker") on May 11, 2010 at 12:49

I may have a naive viewpoint but I HOPE that Natural Gas is the bridge to renewables. A strong Natural Gas outlook looks good in my pocket book but I hope over time it leads to a successful transition to renewables. Hopefully it will buy us time to investigate which form(s) are the most cost effective and sustainable (no repeats of ethanol). I refuse to take off my rose colored glasses. I hope it turns out as a win for the economy and the ecology.

It will be a sad day indeed if the two “split the sheets”.

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