Reality Check On Energy Kicks Off Marcellus Summit

Potter County Today

johnfelmyapiAn industry spokesman delivered what he termed a “reality check” on U.S. energy demands as opening speaker for the Marcellus Shale Summit: Building A Sustainable Future event, which continues through Tuesday. Almost 400 government leaders, industry representatives, environmental advocates, educators and others interested in the growing Marcellus Shale natural gas business throughout much of Pennsylvania are attending the session in State College.

Dr. John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, kicked off the summit with a sobering examination of U.S. energy consumption, including forecasts of growing demand, to underscore the importance of the Marcellus Shale gas supplies to the nation’s future.

“This must be developed and we can develop it responsibly,” Felmy emphasized. He cited the HBO program Gasland and other examples of what he termed “irresponsible arguments and misinformation” from the media, academia and others who paint a doomsday scenario for the environment. While conceding that a Marcellus Shale gas well is a significant industrial development on the landscape, Felmy was quick to point out that most of the impact can be remediated after a well is drilled and brought into production. He expressed confidence in the industry to avoid environmental impacts.

Renewable sources — solar and wind power in particular — have a role to play in the nation’s energy future, Dr. Felmy said, but those who believe these sources can provide the majority of power within the next few decades are “simply delusional.”‘

He cited federal reports showing today’s energy supply as:

  • 37.1 percent petroleum
  • 23.8 percent natural gas
  • 22.5 percent coal
  • 8.5 percent nuclear
  • 7.3 percent wind, solar, hydro and geothermal and other sources.

As for demand, all sectors are growing and the current consumption is 40.1 percent for electrical power, 27.8 percent for transportation, 20.6 percent for idustry and 10.8 percent for residential and commercial usage.

There’s no denying the economic benefits of shale gas to Pennsylvania, Felmy said, with an estimated 200,000 jobs to be created in the coming years. He also distributed a list of 24 industries and business that will add jobs as a result of the Marcellus Shale gas production.

Many other speakers will be addressing the audience, including environmental leaders, workforce development experts, transportation officials and government regulators.

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