Via National Journal:
Most Americans would be astonished to learn that North America could be energy independent by 2020, thanks to the technological advances in the exploration and production of natural gas and oil, along with progress in energy efficiency. Because of these advances, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking), we are quietly witnessing one of the most important transformational changes in our country’s history. The implications are significant for our national security, our balance of trade, the restoration of our economy, and the creation of jobs, in what is now being called the coming manufacturing renaissance.
A Jan. 29 report by the Wall Street economic and policy research firm International Strategy & Investment was certainly eye-opening for me. Culling through research provided by some of the leading energy experts in the world, the ISI report, “How the U.S. Energy Renaissance Is Changing the Global Investment Outlook,” gives the reader a whole new attitude toward our future.
The International Energy Agency now predicts that the U.S. will be the world’s largest natural-gas producer by 2015, surpassing current leader Russia. Statistics compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and ISI’s integrated-oil analyst Doug Terreson indicate that the share of energy from domestic sources will rise from 79 percent of consumption today to 87 percent by 2020 and that the majority of the other 13 percent will come from Canada or Mexico.
The U.S. now has one of the lowest prices for natural gas in the world, averaging $3 per MBtu (1 cubic foot of natural gas is equal to 1,000 British thermal units of heat energy) compared with $15 in Japan, $13 in South Korea, and $11 in Germany. With 30 percent of electricity in the U.S. currently being generated by natural gas, cheap gasis bringing down the cost of electricity, and rates here are about 50 percent lower than in Europe.
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