The world of green politics is constantly moving, and we’ve rounded up some of the best stories from the past week, including the big energy and the Northeast getting fracked, Elon Musk on California’s high-speed rail, and the biggest question of all; where are all the wind farms?
Big Energy Getting Fracked By Natural Gas Investments
While the controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale rock, known as fracking, has had a positive impact in the American job numbers, some big energy companies are feeling the sting of investing in natural gas.
Peter Voser, the big boss of Shell, recently said that one of his biggest regrets was the $24 billion that he pushed Shell to invest in North American natural gas. Additionally, BHP Billiton has said it would auction half of its natural gas acreage in Texas and New Mexico after spending around $20 billion on the sites in 2011.
Also projections as low for the actual positive impact that fracking and the natural gas industry will have on the American economy in the long run. The natural gas market is relatively small when compared to other American industries, and is tied to the cost of oil. When oil costs are high natural gas is an attractive choice for investment; yet when oil prices drop, as they have been doing, so does the attractiveness of natural gas for an investment.
Source: The Economist
Northeast Getting Fracked Too!
The Northeast has made a massive shift from using oil to heat homes to natural gas to heat homes. Due to the high demand of natural gas not just for heat, but for other applications nationwide, residents of the Northeast fear their natural gas will not come during the winter months and that they will be left out in the literal cold.
I live in the Northeast and it is cold up here for about five months. Not having your heat source delivered is not only inconvenient but it is dangerous. Blame the current popularity of natural gas in America, blame the lack of pipelines for delivery of the gas, and blame people putting all their eggs in one basket – meaning relying solely on one heating source.
The potential shortage of natural gas in the Northeast is serious enough that power-system operator in New England have issued a “special winter reliability plan” if there is indeed difficulty with natural gas deliveries to the Northeast.
High Speed Rail Could Be Coming To Colorado
A proposed high-speed rail line running from Fort Collins to Denver International Airport and then south to Colorado Springs would cost an estimated $9.8 billion, according to a feasibility study.
So far the support has been strong in Colorado for the high speed rail line that could carry around 13 million passengers per year. As with any new construction, environmental concerns and costs are high, as well as concern fore the actual top speed of the proposed rail line through the Rocky Mountain state.
Source: Denver Post
Elon Musk Thinks California’s High Speed Rail Is Just Not Cool
Elon Musk and his electric car company Tesla have been in the news a lot recently. But outside of the current news frenzy, Musk has been very vocal about the California High Speed Rail project, and the number of problems that have overshadowed it.
Overall Musk supports high speed rail if it’s done right. After all ,Musk is the guy who has proposed the Hyper Loop – so it is safe to say that Musk thinks big.
Musk’s biggest gripe about the California High Speed Rail project was the lack of ingenuity. According to Musk, Californians thought they were going to get a great high speed rail system like in China or in Japan, and that’s not what they are getting.
Why Are All The Wind Farms?
The wind is a major energy source that has been harnessed for centuries. So how come we don’t see more wind farms generating clean energy?
If you look at the Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts or to some Canadian provinces, people are actively protesting the development of wind farms, despite the huge potential for green power.
Why? Well, sadly wind farms have fallen prey to the Not In My Back Yard, or NIMBY, state of affairs. Just like landfills and nuclear power plants, people don’t wind farms near where they live, and these projects take up massive tracts of land. It’s too bad because the wind is a natural, cheap, and clean energy source that is being severely underutilized.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.