Bloomberg to natural gas industry: stop resisting sensible regulations, join with renewables
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg used the 2013 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit near Washington, DC to prod the oil and gas industry to stop resisting efforts to forge “sensible” regulations. “We need sound regulation and we need it soon,” he said.
While he’s been on the bandwagon for enabling responsible hydraulic fracturing for natural gas to help power the Big Apple since last summer, he also used the ARPA-E stage to urge advocates of renewable energy to join with leaders in natural gas to forge a practical path forward together as “energy allies”. This way, he said, both can improve economic and environmental sustainability more effectively than either can do alone.
Bloomberg echoed warnings, many of which have been captured here on The Energy Fix, that sensible regulations can minimize the risk of a disaster that could significantly slow the growth of hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and oil. consequences.
The notion of leaders in natural gas and renewables working together is not new. While not as far afield from renewables as the coal industry is, some natural gas industry leaders have almost scoffed at the possibility. Still others have demonstrated an open mind about what might work.
Michael Eckhart, the founding President of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), invited and welcomed Skip Horvath, President of the Natural Gas Supply Association, to speak at ACORE’s annual policy conference in December 2010. Among the ideas discussed during their exchange was the need for improved energy storage systems to help levelize the supply of power to the grid. Bloomberg went out of his way to make the same point in his ARPA-E remarks.
Bloomberg’s appeal to enable more natural gas drilling was the second in as many days. T. Boone Pickens was featured in earlier ARPA-E keynote session making the case for innovative thinking to capitalize on America’s growing energy self-sufficiency powered by new supplies of natural gas and oil from hydraulic fracturing. It comes as New York continues to consider how to lift the current bad on drilling in the lucrative Utica shale reservoir throughout much of New York state.
America’s Natural Gas Alliance responded stating “we have worked constructively and at great length with policy makers in states to ensure there is strong oversight in place that provides assurances to communities we are carrying out our work in a transparent and responsible way.” ACORE did not respond quickly to a request for comment.
As the CEO of what is widely viewed as the most innovative large city in the U.S., Bloomberg said to keep en eye on New York City for its already impressive progress in deploying renewables and boost building energy efficiency. He said 250 commercial buildings have been retrofitted since 2007.
Along the way, the city has created the “largest public database” in the world of how its buildings use energy. Match that, he said, with the “most ambitious” green building laws anywhere, efforts to foster the development of tidal power near lower Manhattan and a wind energy system taking shape 13 miles off its southern tip.
After about 800,000 of its residents and businesses lost power due to Hurricane Sandy last October Bloomberg is taking fresh steps to incentivize building owners to invest in cogeneration.