Energy & Environment

7 ways to fire up an energy recovery

7 ways to fire up an energy recovery

There is a revolution in American energy production going on, but you wouldn’t know it from the policies and pronouncements of the Obama administration. While innovative technologies are flourishing in places like North Dakota, the government insists on leading us to its favored, but largely impractical and costly, energy solutions.

As former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich points out in this issue, America’s “potential for domestic production of oil and gas are, for the foreseeable future, limitless” thanks to two technologies, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which combine to allow developers to extract enormous amounts of oil and gas trapped in shale deep underground. Gingrich calls it a “modern marvel to match the Wright Brothers’ airplane and Thomas Edison’s light bulb.” He predicts that energy will be the foundation of a Mitt Romney recovery, if he is elected.

In the meantime, however, public policies are stuck on fashionable thinking regarding wind and solar sources that, honestly speaking, will never sustain America’s knowledge and information economy, much less its industrial economy, and will never fulfill a goal of U.S. energy self-sufficiency.

In this Special Focus, our invited writers from industry and government and Senior Reporter Audrey Hudson explain exactly what is holding America back, from a policy perspective, to becoming its own best energy supplier, including:

Little is more destructive to both the nation’s energy security and its future than the war on coal, a war that targets the industry that supplies nearly half of all the nation’s power.

Secondly, New York has been studying how to regulate hydraulic fracturing for nearly four years; it’s past time to open the gate. The wind tax credit is supporting an industry—with billions of taxpayer dollars—that deserves an important but only limited place in the energy supply arena. The Ethanol 15 mandate is one that consumers are only now coming to know about, but doubtless will challenge.

And, in an odd way, energy development on private land is helping re-elect President Obama—it is in no way attributable to him, but he benefits from the halo effect of the results.

The war on coal
by Audrey Hudson
The Obama administration’s coal policies threaten to cripple the industry and jeopardize U.S. economic security as those policies target half of the nation’s source of electricity for homes and businesses.

The Romney recovery will begin with energy
by Newt Gingrich
From Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio to North Dakota’s energy boom, the Romney plan will focus on simple, American-based energy solutions.

All they are saying is give fracking a chance
by Steve Everley
Gov. Cuomo and Democrats in Albany, N.Y. are dragging their feet on new rules for hydraulic fracturing, creating over 1,500 pages in environmental studies that represent the most stringent regulatory program.

Why the wind energy tax credit must go
by Rep. Doug Lamborn
Compared with federal subsidies for other forms of energy, wind is a costly investment. For every megawatt hour of wind energy generated, the taxpayer pays $56, compared to 64 cents for coal-fired and natural gas-fired generation.

In Fukushima’s aftermath, nuclear industry stepped up safety measures
by Anthony Pietrangelo
Nuclear is a low-carbon alternative in America’s energy portfolio while wind and solar technology are dwarfed by nuclear’s around-the-clock, high-output performance.

A new American energy plan must begin and end in Alaska
by Rep. Don Young
Time and time again, Obama has sided with environmentalists, helping them stifle the economic engine in Alaska, while claiming otherwise in the press and on the stump.

With E15, the ethanol industry wins, but American consumers lose
by Charles T. Drevna
Ethanol 15 was rushed onto the market by the Environmental Protection Agency without conducting proper testing. By doing so, the EPA has created safety, operability and liability concerns.

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  • redwolf6911

    The Obama administration is slowly killing all the jobs in this country. There are 23 million people out of work. Obama and his loons cook the books in terms of the jobless rate and consumer price Index by taking energy and food off the books. If Obama is re-elected, then the UN will take over a lot of this country. Obama and the Democrats want to tell the people in this country what to eat, drive, type of gasoline, how to run family farms, what jobs we have, take away our religious freedom, guns, and what type of healthcare. The sooner Obama and his loons are gone, the better off this country will be. Don’t forget to vote.

  • Doug Welch

    The author got through the whole article without mentioning conservation. The cheapest kilowatt or gallon of fossil fuel is the one we will never use. We should be using as little as necessary instead of as much as possible to save our natural resources for future generations. We need to reign in energy use as much as the national debt. Is it really only two generations ago we were a less wasteful nation?
    We also need to come to terms that while new sources of energy–unconventional oil is good news i higher production costs mean it is only profitable at retail prices that choke off economic growth. Meanwhile, cheap conventional fossil fuel has plateaued at 74 mbd. According to economist James Hamilton nine out of the last ten recessions followed a spike in fossil fuel prices. Both parties are failing us miserably on this. Neither Keynesian economics or supply side solutions will work in the new environment. It may be a good long time before we return to a period of sustained economic growth.

  • Altosackbuteer

    Conservation is a one-trick pony. Once it’s done to its maximum degree, THEN WHAT does the nation do to address its energy needs?
    AT MOST, all conservation does is postpone the inevitable day of reckoning, when a decision to build new energy sources must be made.

  • Doug Welch

    Conservation will buy us time we desperately need, if the Hirsch Report from the Bush Administration is accurate. It also doesn’t cost anything. Many big, expensive projects may not ever get off the drawing board if financing is a challenge.

  • MichMike

    Conservation is wonderful and each person can practice conservation to whatever degree they wish. If you believe that draconian measures should be forced upon people how about we start with outlawing unwed births. These children are the vast majority of our prison inmates, consume vast amounts of energy, and for the most part are dependent on governments for their existence. And the vast majority of them are not accidental as they used to be 50 years ago. If you are a proponent of government control can we not control some things that cost taxpayers trillions and result in the death or injury to millions?

  • 56blue9

    At least 28 states are collecting money (sometimes enormous sums) from electric customers to fund conservation efforts. Eg., the EEPS program in New York State. (check out EEPS — energy efficiency portfolio standards).

  • 56blue9

    Romney should press this point at the debates. WE all feel the effects of high energy prices. Obama’s EPA policies are driving up domestic energy costs and transferring jobs from relatively benign manufacturing processes in America to China manufacturing, which often is powered by energy from coal fired generation facilities that could not be built in this country. Obama is killing jobs without helping the environment.

  • Dustoff

    Yet, we have our own Government making bio fuel for our jets & ships at a huge cost. That’s no conservation.
    You can’t expect the people of this nation to conserve, when our own gov can’t.

  • CaptainAhab

    We need a manufacturing recovery in this country, and the only way to do it is for the politicians to stand up to the labor unions, and the government to get rid of the minimum wage, so we can compete with the foreign labor markets.

  • CaptainAhab

    And what, Chairman Mao, do you propose for people who break the law against unwed births?

  • Wxcynic

    The newer coal plants being built in China are of our design and they are clean. Some of the coal they are burning comes from Montana and Wyoming and they mix our good stuff with their poor quality coal to reduce emissions. And then we have Seattle who recently stopped a coal transfering facility because of worries over coal dust which can be eliminated by spraying a little water on it.(so the coal goes through Portland) It is not just the EPA that is killing us as the wrong-headed environmental mentality is at all levels of government and the courts.

  • Wxcynic

    Conserving can not work and never will work. It is an environmentalist’s pipe dream that ignores human behavior and the reality that hydrocarbons fuel much more than transportation.

  • eewell

    The revolution is being done without Barry.As usual,he is behind the curve and will soon be in the rearview mirror of history.

  • Deerknocker

    If only. If only this administration would get over its obsession with “Green” energy, and focus on “Efficient” energy. What kind of education and mindset is needed to embrace energy sources with costs that are orders of magnitude greater than CONG (coal, oil, nuclear, gas) and require billions upon billions of dollars in new infrastructure investment when CONG infrastructure is in place and operating? Really folks, do you want these people running our country? At some point dogma must give way to reality.

  • RenegadeScholar

    We should be using as little as necessary instead of as much as possible

    What evidence do you have that we use “as much as possible?”

    It seems to me that we use exactly the amount we need to in order to have our quality of life and to generate much of the worlds economic wealth.

  • RenegadeScholar

    It also doesn’t cost anything.

    …except all of the things we could have done with the additional energy.

    Doug–conservation is great as long as it is voluntary. Make a case for it–as you are trying to do–and you will win adherents.

    What I think you mean by “conservation,” though, is forced rationing by the government.

  • RenegadeScholar

    “Progressives” are against progress and in favor of freezing an old, outdated welfare state and using 19th century socialism to advance their pet projects.

    The free market is passing them by.

  • endpork

    How about people get together and demand that the rich global warming alarmists in Hollywood and in the Democrat party put their MILLIONS together and create green energy producing companies and product creating factories. They could offset something and if they believe in it so much… they can make it with their money…creating employment opportunities for U.S workers.
    All the while drill everywhere and dig for coal everywhere.

  • Reactant

    I wouldn’t agree with that at all. As a whole, our nation uses a LOT more energy than we need to. Whether that’s leaving the TV on at night, or using an outdated furnace, our nation’s efficiency isn’t nearly what it could be. I don’t agree with mandated rationing of energy, but more emphasis should be put on energy efficiency and conservation. There’s a lot of energy that we consume that doesn’t go to “our quality of life and generating much of the world’s economic wealth” – it’s simply wasted.

  • MichMike

    How about we don’t subsidize those that do? What do you think would happen to out of wedlock births (the majority are NOT teen age girls) if we stopped funding this behavior? But instead the government financially encourages it. Stunning. Think of this the next time you or someone you know are a victim of a crime.

  • CaptainAhab

    I agree that unwed births are a problem, and I agree that we should not subsidize those that do have babies out of wedlock. But making it illegal is straight out of the Communist Chinese government playbook.
    Your attempt to say that all crime is a result of unwed births also sounds like something a liberal might say. It’s kind of like saying, “If we take away all of the people’s guns, we would end all crime.” Now THAT, is stunning.

  • Nell Stebbins

    I hope the writer is aware that due to President Obama’s energy policies, the United States is set to overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the worlds largest oil producer by 2015. It is important to note that fact.

  • laurent

    Today, outside the Middle East, new drillings make economic sense as long as oil prices remain above $70-$80 a barrel.

    So oil will remain expensive, gasoline prices are unlikely to fall under $3 a gallon and OPEC will continue to earn at least $700-$800 billion a year.

    Leading oil services firm Baker Hughes warned that booming drilling in the
    shale oil fields of North Dakota and even south Texas could slow if U.S.
    prices drop below $80 a barrel.

    Marin Katusa, senior editor of Casey Energy Opportunities : “New oil sands projects are uneconomic to develop without an oil price of at least $85 per barrel”.

    Matt Pickard, consulting manager at Quest Offshore Resources : “The more expensive deepwater projects need oil prices of $75 to $85 a barrel to be economically viable”.