It has been too long since contributing an article. The silence unfortunately was due to an unforeseen medical emergency. Still house bound and recovering gives me time to scan the energy news and compels one to comment.
To most the unfortunate, seemingly absurd and sad war continues in the invaded nation of Ukraine. Biden from the onset of the Russian invasion of a sovereign nation has used tired rhetoric and feigns substantive support and action that to date does not deter the aggressor. It reminds many students of history of the weak response of European nations when Hitler invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1938. To no one’s surprise the price of oil has climbed and today approaches $120 a barrel. OPEC+ has promised increase of production which indirectly benefits Russia and funding Putin’s war. Last week at a meeting with Asian heads of state, Biden sugarcoated gasoline prices at over $5.00 in the United States as part of the great energy transition. Again energy reality seems to escape this president’s logic.
One can argue that US energy independence in today’s chaotic world order should be the paramount goal. Our presidents repeatedly since Richard Nixon have consistently declared this as a key policy objective for their administration but none have been able to achieve much more than lip service. This is not to say the impacts of global warming should be or can be ignored, but rather there is a need to put America and our democratic ideals first rather than continuing to prop up suppressive dictators and autocratic regimes. Again there is the need for a measured and prudent energy policy based on our immediate and long term strengths.
Biden has demonstrated he does not have the vision or capacity of leadership to manifest US energy independence. His initial executives orders against pipelines and oil and gas production on federal lands was an indication of his lack of perception on attaining and maintaining control of our energy needs. Moving to natural gas electric generation power plants has enabled the US to reduce methane and carbon emissions. Rather than subverting pipeline development the federal government may need to embrace an initative similar to the interstate highway system to upgrade the country pipeline system so that New England does not have to continue to resort to long haul truck transporting of natural gas and in the future hydrogen. It has been demonstrated their energy costs could be greatly reduced by allowing a 200 mile natural gas pipeline from northeast Pennsylvania to Massachusetts. In addition supporting pipelines would also allow further Liquid Natural Gas LNG development to help balance European and Asia energy supplies and reduce the use of coal. How does it make sense to put natural gas and or hydrogen in trucks on our highways, when pipelines are proven the safest way to transport the gases? However such a policy or plan is highly unlikely with Biden. The summer will past and winter energy reality will return with Biden continuing lofty and empty platitudes. Environmentalists applaud their white house ally to thwart pipeline development and use of natural gas. However their ideals will be tested by another reality. The fragmented electric grid needs expansion, interconnections and upgrades all across the country. Currently states have first control of the process of how, who (what utility) and when upgrades occur. In April 2022 FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) began proposing a change in policy seeking FROFR, (Federal Right of First Refusal) to grid expansion. It will be interesting to see how supportive groups like the Sierra Club will be when the high powered transmissions lines are crossing over their favored wetlands, the Appalachian trail and other environmentally sensitive areas. Maybe they will remember as they chain themselves to a high tension tower, that the proposed pipeline under the Appalachian Trail was going to be tunneled 700 hundred feet below the trail and shielded from sight. As it is Biden wants to greenwash his policies and efforts, convincing us that we can quickly electrify much of our transportation and general economy. Reality speaks as Bloomberg reports this week automobile executives are raising concerns about the real supply of batteries and rare earth materials in the next five years as demands overwhelm supply. Various economists are warning advocating major transformation of the nation’s economy in the midst of uncertainty and troublesome inflation is definitely not the best course. Looking out the window before hitting send a CNG compressed natural gas disposal truck quietly goes by, so what, now what Biden.