Get Energy Smart! NOW!

Blogging for a sustainable energy future.

Get Energy Smart!  NOW! header image 2

Ryan’s lie …

December 20th, 2017 · No Comments

Last evening, Paul Ryan told the world that

opening a small … area of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge …

is the most ambitious step we have taken in years to secure our energy future.

By any reasonable criteria, Paul Ryan lied.

First, let’s consider just what the ANWR opening might mean. A key Bush Administration energy official put it this way (in a discussion promoting opening of ANWR):

“You’re looking at production scenarios of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day,”

In other words, in a number of years, opening up a wildlife refuge might (MIGHT — dependent on oil prices, actual discovered reserves, etc …) lead to producing a few percent of U.S. daily oil demand. A different examination suggests that it would take about 10 years to hit meaningful production and nearly 20 to reach in the ballpark of 800,000 barrels per day — roughly 4-5% of current US oil demand.  Let’s be clear, that 800,000 isn’t nothing — but does that truly represent, 20 years from now, a serious (‘ambitious’) step “to secure our energy future”?

Of course, putting aside that pesky little issue of opening up for environmental destruction a pretty wide swath of long protected land, there is the reality that increasingly energy analysts are discussing cannibalization of fossil fuel demand (coal being hit hardest now with ever-lowering cost solar/wind and storage, but oil soon to feel severe impacts from electrification of transportation) and projections that ‘high-cost’ oil production will be ‘stranded’ in a world with ever-diminishing oil demand. Considering opening ANWR and an over 10-year timeline to meaningful production (now, ANWR oil won’t be cheap, perhaps requiring sustained prices above $35 for profitability) with this sort of thoughtful forecasting, incorporating reasonable projections of innovations in the energy(-related) world, suggests a very high risk of stranded assets: high-cost Alaskan oil simply unable to compete with cheap oil from Saudi Arabia.

From cyber-security to grid infrastructure to smart-grid to deployment of clean energy (solar and wind, primarily) to Defense Department focus on its energy security to other initiatives and investments, the United States has seen (in both the Bush and Obama Administrations) a wide range of more “ambitious step(s) … to secure our energy future.”

Let’s take just one example, one that Ryan voted for: the creation and operation of the Advance Research Projects Agency-Energy.  As the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation coined it, ARPA-E is a Versatile Catalyst for Energy Innovation. Across a wide range of energy domains (from better drilling equipment to hydrogen tanks to solar power to …), ARPAE has fostered an environment for innovation and through its strong work with its awardees moved forward numerous firms and technologies toward introduction into the commercial marketplace.  While still early in the game, at less than a decade old, ARPAE is having an impact to “secure our energy future” that will only accelerate with each passing year.

No, Speaker Ryan, opening up ANWR is neither an “ambitious step” nor does it help America and Americans “secure our energy future”.  To assert that it does is, simply put, a lie.

Note: For a very interesting, related, article with much substance, see How the Alaska Pipeline Is Fueling the Push to Drill in the Arctic Refuge.

A key impetus is the need to feed petroleum into the 40-year-old Trans-Alaska Pipeline, as low production and sluggish flows hamper its operations




Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: Energy

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment