In his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined his plans for a clean energy strategy to meet environmental goals.
I have often stated here on HRN, that we all can agree on a clean energy future, but the facts are that the road to get there is paved in carbon energy, and natural resources – more specifically rare earth elements.
Wind turbines, solar panels etc. are dependent on rare earth elements that are indispensible in nearly all clean energy products and technologies. Without these rare earth elements, clean technologies are non-existant. To get these elements, takes a huge amount of energy to mine, extract and refine. Heavy diesel equipment, huge energy hungry processing facilities, chemicals etc. its an energy intensive process. Then there is the process to build, manufacture, transport and assemble these cleantech products which also takes a huge amount of energy.
President Obama’s plan is to drop tax credits to oil and gas companies and pass this along to the cleantech sector. Is that really going to acheive anything? No. Those lost tax credits will increase costs that are passed along to consumers – you and me – AND the cleantech companies through increased costs in the energy used to build the cleantech industry. Its stupid.
Istead, we should recognize that to build the “green economy” it takes a lot of current energy from reliable sources. However, there is one source – natural gas – that provides a affordable, lower carbon source of energy and its abundent throughout North America. However, in their wisdom what is really happening with natural gas? Its going to be shipped to Asia where they are smart enough to recognize their energy needs, and smart enought to use natural gas to full extend of its value. Oh, and they are likely to be the biggest manufacturers of wind turbines, solar cells and other cleantech products as well. The US will be twice beaten.
The way things are going it might just play out that the US stays dependent on oil, sells their domestic lower carb natural gas to China, and loses the innovation and manufacturing market for cleantech products to China as well.
Obama got one thing right, China is moving forward and fast. Their graduating millions of students a year in sciences and engineering. They are investing heavily in cleantech and high tech, and securing the energy sources and resources that it takes to build the products in these sectors.
Its getting to the point that the inability of the US politicians on both sides to get something done is determining the outcome of the game before its finished. The race has started, China’s up and runng and the US politicians are still trying to determine where they should put their starting block down. Stop it! Drop the block and get moving.
I know what some are saying… shale gas is environmenttaly damaging. That the hydraulic fracturing process poisons the water basin. The risk of this is low, but the industry listened. The great thing about capitalizm is that it rewards those that provide solutions to problems. If you have a solution to improve something. Your going to do very well for yourself, your family and your shareholders. Point here is that the answer is not to shut something down when there is a problem and debate about it… the right thing to do is to develop a solution to solve the problem.
Oh, and in the case of hydraulic fracturing… take a look at Gas Frac Energy Services. A Canadian company based in Calgary, Alberta. They have a new fracking process that virtually elliminates the environmental risks that have everyone in New York upset. They took advantage of the situation, provided a solution, and are reaping the rewards.
China and India are really living the “American Dream”. They are living in hope. Hope for their future and recognizing that the problems around them provide opportunity. Opportunity innovate and create solutions to improve their lives. Their getting educated and taking responsibility for their future. They are building new energy sources in wind, solar, nuclear etc to meet their future needs in a green economy. They are shutting down environmentally damaging mines, and factories, and securing resources from around the world. And they are buying lots of natural gas. They are using is in transportation and power generation. Is filling a natural gas powered car inconient in China? No. They built the fill stations and made it convenient. Natural gas is at nearly every petro station in major cities. Meanwhile, as Canada and the US, still debate about natural gas as a via transporation fuel, natural gas producers pipeline companies are building pipelines and facilities to export natural gas to Asia – more specifically China – from Kitimat BC, and Louisiana.
The HornRiverNews has tried to get the message out. The abundance of natural gas in North America is not a problem carbon fuel. Its an opportunity. An opportunity to help in lower carbon emissions on the path to a cleaner energy future.