Folks in Walker and Cass County depend upon reliable infrastructure to deliver the energy that heats homes, illuminates hospitals and powers the trucks and trains delivering goods to fill grocery store shelves. It is widely known that much of our energy infrastructure built in the mid 20th Century is in need of repair or replacement to sustain reliability.
An important part of our mission is to communicate with the public and community leaders about infrastructure projects and other petroleum and natural gas initiatives that impact your community. Last month, we had the opportunity to sit down with folks from Walker. My colleagues and I began with a presentation on the importance of petroleum and natural gas to everyone in Cass County; as well as to emphasize that the industry has a pipeline safety record of 99.999 percent. We also explained that we aren’t satisfied with less than perfection and that’s why oil and natural gas pipeline companies are replacing old pipe or installing new pipelines to ensure energy reliability in the region.
Following our presentation, a question quickly took us in a different direction. “Why isn’t the petroleum and natural gas industry communicating about our efforts to develop alternative energy sources?” Good question.
Last October, business analysts at Bloomberg reported that over a 15-year period beginning in 2002, the oil industry completed 428 transactions “building stakes in clean energy companies.” For example, since 2002, Enbridge has committed more than $7.8 billion to wind, solar and hydroelectric projects. In a November 2017 article, Bloomberg also reported on the multi-billion-dollar efforts by Exxon-Mobil for research and development on projects like algae biofuels and carbon capture fuel cells.
Projects like these along with the tremendous growth in domestic natural gas production, suggest that America’s energy future is bright. Natural gas now accounts for nearly a third of all the power that is produced in the United States. And the United States Energy Information Administration (USEIA) reported that almost two-thirds of the CO2 emission reductions from 2006-2014 came from fuel shifting toward natural gas. Natural gas is abundant, clean, reliable and affordable.
We support an all-of-the-above approach to natural gas, petroleum and alternative energy development. We also support energy infrastructure projects that will transport these products to the hard-working families of Cass County.
Erin Roth is the executive director of the Minnesota Petroleum Council.