CEG Industry Blog

Energy Project Development in the U.S. in a Real Dilemma

A consensus about how to generate power for residential and commercial use is riven by the same forces that have splintered public opinion.

📅   Mon May 16, 2016 - Edition
Giles Lambertson


A consensus about how to generate power for residential and commercial use is riven by the same forces that have splintered public opinion generally.
A consensus about how to generate power for residential and commercial use is riven by the same forces that have splintered public opinion generally.

You never know about energy developments in this country. They are constantly materializing and disappearing. A consensus about how to generate power for residential and commercial use is riven by the same forces that have splintered public opinion generally. One consequence is that contractors don't know if there is going to be work for them or not.

Example: The Senate has approved an energy bill on a lopsided bipartisan vote. It holds promise of not only developing energy resources but creating large-scale construction projects. These include hydroelectric plants (read: dams) and liquefied natural gas terminals. The bill must be merged with a House bill that also holds promise but stresses coal and gas facilities, so the clash of lobbyists begins, with environmental purists pitted against everyone else.

The latest conflict in this long-running public battle over energy occurred in April. New York state authorities rejected a proposed pipeline to transport natural gas from Pennsylvania across New York to Boston, New York and other urban markets. The 125-mile line was turned down ostensibly because it failed to meet the state's water quality standards.

Companies backing the so-called Constitution Pipeline had worked with the state's environmental protection agency for three years and claimed to have checked constantly to answer any questions that might have arisen. In the end, their systematic responses to concerns were not enough, in the same way backers of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline could never satisfy the Obama administration.

Fossil fuel power generation clearly is not a growth market. Another indicator: Washington's official goal seems to be to regulate out of existence as many coal mining operations as possible. As a result of all this, the future of the country looks fairly dim—literally. With nuclear power sidelined for fear of…well, from inordinate fear, construction of solar panel fields and wind turbine towers is all contractors can depend on. More power to them…and one can only hope it is enough.