American Gas - November 2013 - (Page 22)

U.S. Secretary of Energy ErnEst Moniz discusses the role of natural gas in America's lower-carbon future profile ThE ChAnging EnErgy LAndSCApE Confirmed in May as the 13th Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, Ph.D., is tasked with "growing the economy, enhancing security, and protecting the environment," according to the Department of Energy website. Moniz brings a long history in energy technology to his new role. Since 1973 he has been a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, currently as the Cecil and Ida Green Professor, emeritus, of physics and engineering systems. He was also founding director of the MIT Energy Initiative and the MIT Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. He previously served as under secretary of the Department of Energy and as associate director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. American Gas: You've said that natural gas is a bridge to a lower-carbon future. How does natural gas fit into your vision for a more energy-efficient America? Secretary Moniz: Natural gas, and shale gas especially, has changed the energy landscape profoundly. We see that in both increased production and lower energy bills for industry and consumers. We also see an important contribution to expanded manufacturing from low-cost natural gas and natural gas liquids. In addition, the market-driven substitution of natural gas for coal has been a major contributor to our lower CO2 emissions. Looking forward, demand manage- ment, energy efficiency, and the continued expansion of natural gas utilization are important parts of heading toward a lower-carbon future. In the longer term, decades from now, if we're going to have the very-low-carbon future many of us think we need, then natural gas will also require some degree of carbon capture and sequestration. AG: Some observers say low-cost natural gas is displacing energy sources such as nuclear and renewables. Does that threaten the president's idea of an "allof-the-above" energy policy? Moniz: The president and I remain committed to the all-of-the-above policy. Wind and solar have doubled in the past few years, and we expect a further doubling. We've seen very large deployments and dramatic cost reductions in onshore wind, photovoltaics, LED lighting, and vehicle batteries. These technologies are moving into the marketplace very rapidly, and I expect the deployment of renewables will continue to be robust. The nuclear situation is more complicated. We've seen several plants close or announce closures. In the short term, lower natural gas prices have been one contributor to some of the nuclear plant shutdowns. On the other hand, we have five nuclear plants under construction in the U.S., and we have $450 million committed to moving small modular reactors to their design certification and licensing phase. This is a very promising technology for the future, if it can be demonstrated at a good cost point. AG: What are the most promising new energy technologies? Moniz: Wind, solar, and LED lighting will all be important contributors. For technologies like solar and LEDs, it hasn't been widely recognized that they are already at a very competitive cost point for many applications. In a very short time, the cost of an LED dropped from $50 to $15. When you fold in the 25x increase in lifespan compared to a 60-watt incandescent, over its lifetime an LED will save the consumer $100. Another area that's critical in the relatively near term for coal and natural gas is carbon capture and sequestration, and the potential use of CO2 in enhanced oil recovery. We have eight major projects being funded to develop this technology and drive down costs. I see no reason why we can't have the same strong innovation and cost reduction for novel carbon capture as we have seen in technologies such as solar and LEDs. AG: How important is hydraulic fracturing to meeting the nation's energy goals? Moniz: Hydraulic fracturing has opened up these unconventional resources for Photogra P hy by adam auel 22 AmericAn GAs november 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Gas - November 2013

American Gas - November 2013
President’s Message
Subject Index
Head Start: On Energy Education
By the Numbers
Need to Know
The Wheels on the Bus...
New Jersey
Long Island
Fueling the Future
U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz
A Tight Ship
Expanding the Reach of the Gas Infrastructure
Company Profiles

American Gas - November 2013