It is important for the federal government to continue to play a role in energy development, said a trio of speakers from different backgrounds at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit.
National security and energy security go hand-in-hand, retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones said at the conference in Maryland. The U.S. must strive to be energy secure because enemies have repeatedly targeted its fuel sources, said Jones, a former national security adviser.
Energy is a target because of the “enormous power it confers on those who have it and the vulnerability it spells for those who do not,” he said.
Jones said it is troubling that decades after the Arab oil embargo, the country still has no sound energy policy or a single senior official in charge of steering energy policy. That’s the reason his national security consultancy, Jones Group International, is recommending the creation of a national energy council, headed by the secretary of the Energy Department, as well as a position of senior director of energy on the National Security Council. (read more…)
American innovation brought about the natural gas production boom the U.S. is now experiencing, and Americans would be fools not to capitalize on it, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens said at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Maryland.
The U.S. has the advantages of the Marcellus Shale Formation — which mostly sits under New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio and is the world’s biggest natural gas field — and the technology to successfully extract gas from it, Pickens said. Similar wells have been attempted in Europe but haven’t produced results like those in America.
“This is a resource that we have to use in this country, and you can recover the economy off of the resource,” Pickens said.
The innovation of American drillers have led to 800,000 hydraulically fractured wells in the U.S. to date, Pickens said.
The abundance of natural gas could help the U.S. be more energy secure and decrease reliance on oil imported from less stable regions of the world. (read more…)
“It would be like trying to clap with one hand.”
That is how the man tasked with leading the U.S. government’s effort to share and safeguard information describes the prospect of trying to accomplish that goal without collaboration from the geospatial community. Kshemendra Paul, program manager for the government’s Information Sharing Environment, says that while the government’s role in cybersecurity has been all over the news lately, the ISE is in no way new to the information-safeguarding landscape. Born out of the events of 9/11, the ISE was created to help various government agencies share data with an eye toward enhancing national security.
On the sidelines of Esri’s FedGIS conference this week in Washington, Paul highlighted some of the initiatives the ISE has undertaken to help federal, state, local and tribal level authorities collect, share and safeguard what Paul describes as “a tsunami of data.” Paul also noted how close work with groups outside the government has paved the way for ISE best practices to spread beyond the realm of counterterrorism into areas like domestic policing and disaster preparedness. (read more…)
The biofuels industry might have powerful enemies in oil and food groups, but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has a plan to defeat them.
At the Renewable Fuels Association‘s National Ethanol Conference in Las Vegas, Vilsack told the audience Thursday to combat attacks on the industry and federal policy that helps it compete, because it’s too important not to. The industry is being tested by environmental groups that don’t see biofuels’ benefits, by the oil industry in court and by trade matters overseas.
Why the challenges?
“I believe there’s a reason, and that reason is that you’re winning. … The folks on the other side are a bit concerned that you’re winning,” Vilsack said. “So my message to you, in part, is you’ve got to keep pushing on. You’ve got to keep fighting.”
The problem, he said, is that the population is increasingly disconnected from rural America, despite providing 85% of the food consumed nationwide and helping to make the country less reliant on foreign oil. (read more…)
What’s needed to make biofuels the next American success story? Panelists at the Renewable Fuels Association‘s National Ethanol Conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday had some differing ideas, but most agreed that the policies in place can be enhanced.
Despite what critics have said in recent months, the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS — which, among other things, established that a certain number of gallons of ethanol must be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply — is being met, thanks to flexibility built into the program, some panelists said.
Mark McMinimy, director of Guggenheim Securities, said investors rely on the RFS because so many industries depend on the stability of biofuels. Farm-equipment manufacturers, seed-development companies, enzyme marketers, fuel blenders, food manufacturers and the livestock industry are interconnected through biofuels, he said. Investors worry about crops from year to year, and policy instability would only worsen that.
Last year, the U.S. (read more…)