Wednesday, December 12, 2012

America's Energy War

A couple of weeks ago I was forwarded an email by my aunt.  It was from the National Chamber of Commerce.  It referred to “America’s Energy Revolution”.  That was a good description.  This nation is in the midst of a new Energy War and Clean Line Energy bought the frontline of this Energy War to northern Illinois.    

The Rock Island Clean Line potentially crosses a field owned by my aunt.  We call that field the “North 80”.  That field average 180 bushels of corn in this drought year.  Yes, we name our fields in Illinois and like my dad, I am very proud of the fields production in drought years.  I look north from the shop and see how peaceful and quite it is and I think it’s hard to imagine there is a war being waged over that ground.  I guess there is a personal attachment to this ground, and take offense when RICL brings America’s Energy War to Prairie Center. 

Today I received two more emails about America’s Energy War.  The first email summed up the nation’s energy position.  Less than a month ago the International Energy Agency ( issued its World Energy Outlook 2012 report.  It forecasts the US will be the world’s largest oil producer by 2017 and the US will be a net oil exporter by 2035.  There is enough recoverable oil in the US for 200 years.  There is enough natural gas in America for 100 years.  America has coal reserves for 400 year!

As America’s economy continues on the edge of a recession and America is becoming more energy efficient demand is not increasing.  As reported in the Wall Street Journal this week, even Exxon believes North America is about to become a net energy exporter by 2025!
It sounds like propaganda…or facts RICL refuses to admit.  America has a surplus of energy.  America’s demand for energy is not increasing.    Four years ago we had a Presidential candidate who’s slogan was repeatedly “We can’t drill our way out of this.”   Looking back now, it looks like Sarah Palin was correct.   “Drill, baby drill!” was a more accurate slogan.  Real America’s don’t say “this nation can’t do anything”.  Four years later, it looks like President Obama’s every attempt to discourage coal, oil, and gas production only stimulated the market to create innovation. 

Right now, America’s economy does not need an artificially created demand for “clean” energy.  America’s struggling economy needs economically priced energy.  We need energy at the lowest most competitive price to list the nation out of the slump we are in. 

What about President Obama’s “green economy”? 
What about his “shovel ready jobs”?
What about Obama stimulus and Washington’s investment in renewable energy?

Another email was received today from EnergyCentral.  Its title was “How the federal energy revolution will impact your project funding.  No joke.  While coal, oil, and natural gas went out and drilled our way out of the nations alleged “energy crisis”, there are still people who claim to be a part of the energy industry who are worried about cuts in their green energy initiatives.   Here are some quotes from the Energy Central email.

While the era of massive federal-energy subsidies is waning, the government is putting resources behind a new vision for America's energy future.

As coal plants get shut down, the government supports clean coal investments. As renewable subsidies are threatened, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) innovates in wind and solar. And, at the heart of the government's funding strategy is the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (APRA-E), which has awarded almost 200 technology grants since 2009.

Unfortunately, today's tight budgets will restrict how federal money is deployed going forward. This free EnergyBiz Leadership Series webcast
— "New Directions for Federal Energy R&D" — will look at the future of energy spending, exploring: 

·         How the government plans to deploy funding

·         What kinds of efficiency and generation R&D will be supported

·         How the utility industry will be affected

In the words of Bill Gates, "It's crazy how little we're funding this stuff." Be sure you understand how federal spending strategies will impact your business.

If you hurry, you can still sign up for this webinar!

Looks to me like the government’s picks over the last four years were failures and losers.  The winners in America’s Energy War  so far has been parts of the energy industry that the government chose to alienate.  It truly is crazy how much we are funding this stuff and not seeing a return on our investment.  In 2010 the US government handed out over $56 for every megawatt of electricity produced by wind turbines, and the market price of electricity wasn’t much more than half that amount. 

Maybe the best thing the government could do is get out of the energy “investment” business and quit trying to pick “winners”.  Wind energy has been a losing bet and it’s time to let the market decide who the really winners are.  It’s time to let the American consumer win with economically priced energy.

Make no mistake, Rock Island Clean Line is the frontline in America’s Energy War.  I, for one, am personally offended they proposed to bring this aerial sewer of theirs to Illinois.  We do not need another powerline created with misguided Washington energy policy.  America already has the CU Powerline as a testament for governmental foolishness combined with private greed to create a HVDC powerline.

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