David Spigelmyer of the Marcellus Shale Coalition is our guest today on In the Oil Patch radio show.
Kym Bolado: You guys have had some big policy issues that have been making the news in your part of the country in recent weeks. Tell me about the efforts Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has been putting on the new admission regulations in place out there.
David Spigelmyer: Yeah, there’s an initiative called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. There are seven states in the Northeast that have a plan to curb CO2 emissions. Our coalition has not taken a firm position on the proposal. We just haven’t seen enough detail on that yet. I will tell you that we have seen $14 billion of new power generation investment, gas-fired power generation investment in PJM. Natural gas has been used as the primary fuel to display some of the older coal facilities. Rather than invest in scrubbing, they’ve gone to natural gas. You know, we’re about a 250% net exporter of electric power out of Pennsylvania today. So, we’re very much focused on the governor’s regional greenhouse gas initiative, what that means for new power generation. One thing I would suggest is none of us are against renewable sources of power. We just want to make sure that everybody goes into that with our eyes wide open. If we’re going to go in to try and change major portions of our society to become dependent on renewable forms of energy, we are going to have to take up an awful lot of mining. To baseload renewables, you’re going to need extraordinary battery backup and development of lithium and neodymium. And cobalt will be necessary to develop those kinds of battery banks necessary to have any form of reliability to renewable forms of energy. So, this move to try and move towards greater levels of solar and wind when the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, we’re going to need to have enormous amounts of battery backup. In reality, to move some direction, some path towards direction that way, makes some sense. Natural gas will be its primary backup.
Kym Bolado: Well, you know, Dave, it’s no secret that we started In the Oil Patch radio show as a way of trying to talk to the general population about the importance of energy. And you’re hitting the nail on the head as far as why we’re nationally syndicated, because there’re so many people that don’t understand outcomes. So you may think we’re going greener, and it sounds great. And you know, everyone wants to go that route, but they’re equal issues that we have to face as a country when we start doing that. And so I’m glad to see that what you just discussed is so vital for our listeners to hear that there is not always a positive outcome when you start going in a different direction without really thinking things through all the way. So, David and I, that’s our job to just try to make sense of some of the policies that really don’t make sense or some of the policies that they want to implement that are going to be very costly to the individuals. Can you afford a higher utility bill or can you afford, you know, to have to pay more for all these different little things that everyone has to think about when we start wanting to make changes and going into Greenway, which is great. Everybody should be an environmentalist. Everybody should care about the planet we live on, but it’s just a common question we have to ask, what are going to be the positives, and what are gonna be the negatives. And let’s weigh them before we start making changes. And that doesn’t really seem to be happening all the time