Has Fracking Killed the Renewable Energy Movement?

green leaf turning brownIt is no surprise that those who rabidly oppose shale gas drilling in general, and hydraulic fracturing in particular, do so for one primary reason: it threatens renewable energy. In fact, MDN would go so far as to say hydraulic fracturing has single-handedly destroyed the renewable energy movement, and the greenies have brought out the long knives in response.

A column by Dan Nestlerode on StateCollege.com calls attention to just how fundamental, and dramatic, a shift has taken place in the last few years, a shift that spells the end of the green/renewable energy movement.

Very quietly and without any political fanfare, the United States became a net energy exporter in the last calendar quarter.

In historical context, this event essentially ends the calls for a national energy policy, the green alternatives and the potential for shortages derived from price controls. Those of you who remember the lines at your local filling station in the mid-1970s will recall what I am talking about.

This event came about not as the result of a coherent political energy policy or the rise of renewables of all kinds – wind, solar, biomass and ethanol, for example. It is the direct result of the application of technology devised, inspired and developed by America’s energy companies, namely Mitchell Energy, among others. This development was not seeded by the Department of Energy (Think of bankrupt Solyndra, for example), nor politically assisted. It came about because of the vision of one individual who doggedly persisted in finding the methods and ways to develop the naturally occurring oil and gas shale formations in Texas.

The success in the Barnett Shale in Texas led to the application of the technology to the Bakken formation in the Dakotas (oil shale) and the Marcellus Shale (natural gas) in the eastern United States, as well, and a number of other energy shale formations. The development was spurred by the high prices of energy over the past few years and the notion that we have reached peak fossil-fuel-energy output.

High prices and potential shortages of fuels — as well as disruptions caused by hurricanes, equipment and process failures in the Gulf, and terrorist activities — pushed development into high gear. Now we have more oil in the United States (indeed North America) and natural gas coming to market than anyone believed was possible just a few years ago.

What does all this mean? The push for green energy is on its last legs again, just like in the Carter administration 40-some years ago. We are already seeing the demise of a number of solar companies bitten by price-cutting from subsidized Chinese energy companies and the coming end of financial support from various states and the federal government.*

Read the rest of Dan’s excellent column by clicking the link below.

*StateCollege.com (Dec 4, 2011) – Daniel Nestlerode: As U.S. Becomes a Net Energy Exporter, Green-Energy Push on Last Legs

  • Bob_Rosen

    “hydraulic fracturing has single-handedly destroyed the renewable energy movement”

    Now you’re just being silly.

  • Am I? Controversial perhaps, but I think not as silly as you think.

  • Anonymous

       Dan Nestlerode  is wrong. This is not 1979.The technology has advanced to far and the cost has dropped too much for alternative energies to crash;although right wingers are doing  their best to strangle the baby renewables. Natural gas will slow the adoption of solar and wind but can not replace  technologies  that have little carbon footprint . Sooner or later even the  most dense  will have to acknowledge climate change and the role  humans play by treating our fragile atmosphere like an open sewer.

  • dtsturrock

    As is more common than not, your latest poll is so biased that the results are useless beyond entertainment value.

    What should government’s role be with regard to renewable energy sources?
    -Require use of renewables-Promote (not require) renewables-No role in promoting/requiring renewables

    The issue is not what the governement requires, but what it encourages and supports.

    For example how many trillions of dollars does our government spend “remaining friends” and “protecting our interests” in the Middle East to artificially keep the cost of petroleum-based products low? And how many lives? What will the future look like if we have to license or import technology from China to exploit other types of energy as that technology develops? What if we diverted a small percentage of that money to help develop new energy technology?

    A better poll would be:
    What should government’s role be with regard to renewable energy sources?-Aggressively support the private sector so that the US may become leaders in this technology.-Support renewables at the same rate as petroleum products are supported (direct and indirect)-Advise and support, but no direct involvement (e.g., marketing and clearinghouse)-No role in promoting/supporting renewables,

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