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Natural Gas 4 Us: The Energy Conundrum: Who to Believe?

Updated: Mar 5

On the energy front, the figurative greenwashing of both sides (Renewables, zero fossil fuels devotees versus fossil fuels transition advocates) continues unabated. All sides are headline seekers. There are daily position papers, reports, oral announcements, and statements attempting to convince us that we humans are facing catastrophic consequences, doomsday is upon us for our continued use of fossil fuels.

According to some researchers, solar-generated electricity will be the dominant global source of power before 2050. Recent progress in renewables means “fossil fuels dominated projections are no longer realistic says Dr. Femke Nijsse from Exter’s Global Systems Institute. Simultaneously the International Energy Agency IEA is projecting peak fossil-fuel use in 2030, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration conclusion is seeing demand for fossil fuels rising through at least 2050. Exxon Mobil just purchased Pioneer Natural Resources for 50 billion dollars signaling they have limited plans of transitioning away from its core business of oil production.

There is a renewed call for global leaders at the COP28 meeting to continue to demonize fossil fuels and renew goals to reduce emissions to reduce the quantitative average temperature to prevent continued ice melting, sea rise, and catastrophic weather events. All the while the Chinese are building more coal-fired power plants and the US continues to increase its shipments of Liquid Natural Gas LNG to Europe for winter warmth and Asia energy needs. According to Bill McKibben writing in The Nation LNG exports are regarded as the most dangerous expansion of fossil fuel use in the world.

Renewable advocates continue to advance wind energy as part of the lower-cost energy mix. Tell that to the Danish wind energy developer Orsted who announced earlier this month that they are writing off 4 billion dollars due to the cancelation of two large offshore wind projects off the coast of New Jersey. This is resulting from higher interest rates, supply chain problems (note the big turbines are in some cases self-destructing), and failure to gain Tax credits the company wanted.

The State of New York has been put on notice that recent wind projects can only go forward if the state raises subsidies and rates. All the renewables generation and increased demand call into question the “Green Power Grid”. The Wall Street Journal reported, in an article “The Green Power Grid Isn’t Coming” that worldwide the IEA estimates 49.7 million miles of transmission lines will have to be built or replaced by 2040. The world needs to spend 600 billion dollars annually on grid upgrades. In the US solar and wind projects unlike fossil fuel plants, solar and wind projects are typically many miles from transition centers This means long transmission lines some from under the ocean. Thousands of transformers (18-month to 24-month lead time) and switchgear systems will be needed to step and down voltage. Couple this with electric vehicle battery hysteria and as the Journal reporter queried, where will all the specialty metals and rare earth elements come from? Most likely China.

Coincidentally the Associated Press is reporting Native American tribes are fighting the US over a proposed 10 billion renewable energy transmission line in southwestern Arizona. The tribes are saying the federal government has ignored concerns about the effects that the SunZIA transmission line will have on religious and cultural sites. These are a few examples of the dichotomy and contradictory energy messages that pervade and invade our information world as we approach Thanksgiving and our blessings in abundance. Meanwhile, winter approaches with an El Nino lilt, it will be critical that we our part of Pennsylvania have reliable heat and electric generation from clean moderately cost natural gas, something else we can be thankful for this holiday.


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