Energy - It Is Not a Binary Choice

Cheap, reliable energy is what allows us to live the lifestyles we do. In our homes we rely on energy daily for our lights, a/c, heat, televisions, video game systems, computers, cellphones, washers, dryers, stoves, ovens, microwaves, dishwashers, water heaters, fans, etc. When we leave our homes we rely on energy for powering our vehicles (EVs need charged batteries and internal combustion vehicles need fuel), traffic lights to keep us safer as we drive, delivery trucks to get the products and groceries we buy to our stores of choice, the coffee machines at your favorite coffee shop, withdrawing cash from the local ATM, enjoying a movie at the theater, going out to eat at your favorite restaurant, and so on.

Energy should not be political. Period. Unfortunately we have seen an uptick in politicians demonizing fossil fuels and the Oil & Gas Industry. Do these same politicians reject fossil fuels and all of the products produced with them, or are they merely using the industry as a pawn in a political game of chess? Do these same politicians understand that with current technology we cannot power the electrical grid with only “renewable” energy sources?

“The grid can’t be 100% renewable,” Xcel CEO Ben Fowke told state public utility regulators Wednesday. “That last 20% [from 80% to 100%] has to be carbon-free and it has to be dispatchable.” (https://www.energycentral.com/news/ceo-xcel-will-likely-need-gas-or-nuclear-power-reach-carbon-free-goals) . I do find the shift in language from 100% renewable to 100% carbon-free intriguing, as it is an admission that “renewable” energy sources are still not up to the task. Another idea to ponder is that no “renewable” energy source is actually renewable as the equipment and installations built to harness the solar and wind power are themselves not renewable and create tons of waste when they get decommissioned / dismantled and replaced.

“Renewable” energy is not a magic bullet. It does have its place and as the technology improves we will see solar and wind increasingly used, but the fact remains that neither can be manufactured, installed, maintained, decommissioned or replaced without fossil fuels. The fight against the fossil fuels and the Oil & Gas Industry is more about political posturing and less about the actual environment. Kicking the can of fossil fuel production down the road to another country that has immensely lower environmental standards and less environmental regulation than we do in the US is nothing more than a charade.

Most conversations on “renewable” energy are directed towards energy for the electrical grid, but do not bother diving into the conversation of energy as a fuel source. There were 276.1 million vehicles registered in the US as of 2018 (https://hedgescompany.com/automotive-market-research-statistics/auto-mailing-lists-and-marketing/) with only 1% being EVs (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-u-s-has-1-million-electric-vehicles-but-does-it-matter/). These vehicles will still need gasoline or diesel to operate. Do you really want our fuel to come from another country where we cannot hold them to our high and ever improving environmental standards? Or would it make more sense to actually produce and refine the fossil fuels here where we can regulate their production and truly control the environmental impact? Not to mention the economic impact of outsourcing fossil fuel production and refinement.

Ask yourself, what does the current war on fossil fuels actually mean for me and my family? If the people waging this war get their way, what will our country look like in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years? How else can we help the environment besides destroying our most reliable source of cheap energy? Think about the actual impacts of doing away with fossil fuels. Think about our country as a whole and not just about your personal cause.

Energy - it is not a binary choice.