Read my latest response on the National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts blog to the question, “How Can The U.S. Wean Itself Off Oil?”
The tragic and still un-contained oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may well go down as one of the most significant environmental disasters of record. That being said, the fact remains that United States’ insatiable demand for energy is unchanged.
As a country, we still use an enormous amount of energy every day and that energy has to come from somewhere. Compounding the already contentious debate surrounding our dependence on foreign sources of energy, there is a good chance that this disaster may sour Americans on additional, let alone existing, domestic oil production. Whatever comes next should reflect a more disaggregated but strong domestic energy framework that takes advantage of our nation’s many alternative resources.
AGA has long supported, to the fullest extent possible, the development of a diverse domestic energy supply, including coal, oil, nuclear, wind, hydro, solar and, of course, natural gas. And while everyone is encouraged by the increased awareness being brought to renewables, the fact remains that all of the power produced by alternative and renewable fuel sources meets only a small portion of the country’s daily energy needs.
A realistic plan for a sustainable low-carbon future, therefore, must include, and support, traditional and proven fuel sources such as natural gas. With major energy producers publicly turning to natural gas as their fuel of choice, the message is clear—as the cleanest of all fossil fuels, natural gas can provide the nation and its consumers with a proven, reliable, low-carbon source of energy.
Equally important is ensuring that the most effective and efficient application of natural gas—directly using natural gas to heat homes, to heat water, for cooking, and for other end-use applications such as natural gas vehicles—is encouraged and supported. Direct use of natural gas is more efficient, more cost effective and greener than converting gas to electricity to power the same end-use applications.