I have not always agreed with Bill Richardson’s politics, but he has had a distinguished career. His recent Op Ed in the Financial Times, “Shale falls short for US energy security” – seems right on the money.
Richardson lauds the opportunity provided by shale. However, he makes the point that energy independence and its allure of long term strategic security cannot and should not be attempted only through the use of Shale Energy (both natural gas and oil). Richardson writes:
A newfound abundance of oil and gas reserves can easily lull the US into a false sense of security. While natural gas provides a relatively clean, inexpensive option – and will play a larger role in our energy mixture – it is still a finite resource. . . . As US fossil-fuel production reaches unprecedented levels, now is not the time to give up on clean energy ambitions. Indeed, now is the time to try harder to meet them.
Today, there is a robust public policy debate about energy. Some are advocating a move away from renewable energy because of cost and reliability issues. They argue against tax credits like the ITC and PTC. They favor repeal of the various state portfolio standards, They oppose DOE and DOD grants for renewable projects. This is an important debate and hopefully all sides will both embrace shale but also recognize its limitations. Long term energy independence and its corresponding security requires more than shale. It will take all of our existing resources and perhaps even more.