August 2011 CEA Newsletter
Yes, it’s been a hot one. As we move into the dog days of summer, consumers are seeking relief in swimming pools, air conditioned buildings and beach getaways. These days, we are reminded at every turn how energy provides us not just lighting and electricity, but basic comfort as well.
We’re also reminded how high fuel costs pose a crushing burden to many Americans. This great heat wave of 2011, coming at a time of widespread economic distress and high fuel costs, has been more than uncomfortable; it has been devastating. At this writing, the heat wave has been associated with 10 deaths in Philadelphia, 12 in Chicago, and tragically, many more around the country. Often the victims are the weak, the sick and the elderly: people who cannot afford the high cost of a cool room. Their deaths are a sobering reminder that when we talk about affordable energy, the stakes are high.
Of course, it’s not just the temperatures that are simmering this summer. Policymakers in Washington have been engaged in some pretty heated budget debates. Yet as we watched different sides volley opposing budget theories back and forth, we have been struck by a lack of attention to some of the policies we could be promoting now to create jobs and strengthen the economy.
There are many things – across many sectors of the economy that policymakers could be doing to put some of the millions of unemployed Americans back to work and put a little more money in all our pockets. Our role here at CEA is to call attention to the energy policies that will promote job creation and a stronger more secure economy. To that end, a new study from the Gulf Economic Survival Team (LINK) shows how dearly we have paid for last year’s Gulf drilling moratorium, and just how much economic potential has been bottled up in the process.
The study finds that deepwater exploration and development drill permits in the Gulf are down from a prior pace of about 80 per year to only about 30 today. And if you think this is just a local economic crisis, the study offers some compelling evidence that it’s reached far beyond both the Gulf region and the oil industry. From manufacturers in the Midwest to software companies along the West Coast, the slowdown in the Gulf has hurt businesses across the country. All told, a return to more historic drilling practices in the region could create upwards of 230,000 jobs around the country, the study finds.
At a time of budget showdowns and debt-ceiling brinkmanship, restarting the Gulf could easily tap an abundant stream of revenue – about $12 billion in tax revenues and royalties in 2012 alone as well as a $44 billion jolt to the national economy. When was the last time you heard a good, solid proposal out of Washington to create that many jobs and that much revenue with a simple policy shift? In the coming days and weeks we’ll have more to say about this important study, so watch our website and our blog for more details. In the meantime, enjoy those dog days of summer and try to stay cool.
High Electricity Bills Too? Sure, If the EPA Has Its Way
It’s no secret Americans are struggling with the high costs of daily living – food, gasoline and even the price of diapers have all risen in the past few months. Right when you thought enough was enough, your electricity bill may become the next victim if Washington bureaucrats don’t get it right. Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing new regulations on power plants that could inadvertently close dozens of U.S. utilities and manufacturing plants, and there’s no backup power switch for consumers to turn to. And as everyone knows, less supply and more demand equal higher prices.
If implemented, these new rules could force approximately 400 facilities to install unnecessary or ineffective environmental technologies to their 16 cooling system operations. Scientific studies have demonstrated these plants have little if any negative effect on surrounding ecosystems. Moreover, these upgrades will cost facilities millions of dollars – costs that will inevitably be passed on to consumers. Consumers may not be left in the dark, but they will be left with a significantly higher electricity bill.
Energy Day 2011 Updates
Only two and a half months remain before Energy Day 2011. As October 15 approaches, momentum for Energy Day is really ramping up. With 67 confirmed sponsors and partners and over 80 exhibits, Energy Day 2011 is shaping up to be a can’t-miss event. On July 14, CEA conducted a conference call on which all sponsors and partners were invited to participate. We had over 60 participants for the hour and a half call that featured a lively discussion pertaining to exactly what will take place in Downtown Houston on October 15.
Here is the list of confirmed Energy Day sponsors:
ABC-13/KTRK-TV, Air Transport Association, American Public Power Association, Anadarko, Apache, ASES Houston Solar Tour, Bug Ware, Inc., Caterpillar, Children’s Museum of Houston, City of Houston, ConocoPhillips, Consumer Energy Alliance, Consumer Energy Education Foundation, Cooperative for After-School Enrichment (CASE), CSTEM Teacher & Student Support Services, Earth Quest Institute, Eco-Holdings Engineering, El Paso Corporation, Energy People Connect, Environmentally Friendly Drilling Program, eVgo, Foundation for Energy Education, Geophysical Society of Houston, Greater Houston Partnership, Halliburton, Harris County Department of Education, Hess Corporation, Houston Advanced Research Center, Houston Area Land Rover Centers, Houston Community College-Northeast Energy Institute, Houston Geological Society, Houston Independent School District, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Wiess Energy Hall, Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce – Energize! Houston, Houston Renewable Energy Group, Houston Renewable Energy Network, Houston Technology Center, HoustonWorks USA, Ignite Solar, Independent Natural Resources, International Power | GDF Suez, KBR, Inc., Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), Lone Star College, Momentum Luxury Group, NASA-Johnson Space Center, National Algae Association, NRG Energy | Reliant Energy, Offshore Energy Center, San Jacinto College – Energy Venture Camp, Science & Engineering Fair of Houston, Shell, 60 Plus Association, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Statoil. Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering, Texas Sol Renewable, Texas Southern University, Jesse H. Jones School of Business , Texas TicKids, The Wind Alliance, TransCanada, Western Energy Alliance, University of Houston, University of Texas, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy, U.S. DOE Gulf Coast Clean Energy Application Center, YES Prep Public Schools
We need your participation and involvement to make this an outstanding event! Please email Kathleen at KKoehler@consumerenergyalliance.org for details.
All sponsors have begun to give us their exhibit ideas and designs, all of which will be very exciting for the youth of Houston. Here are a few confirmed exhibits:
- Combined heat and power system; 8 x 22 Kawasaki engine
- Natural gas vehicle
- Solar panels and wind turbines
- Mobile Offshore Learning Unit
- Interactive iPad games and applications
- eVgo is bringing the Freedom Station (electric vehicle charging station) and 1 or two electric vehicles
and plenty more….
Home Landscaping to Maximize Energy
Did you know that the landscaping around your house can help you maximize energy efficiency and cut costs? In the U.S., there are four approximate climatic regions: temperate, hot-arid, hot-humid and cool. Depending on your region, there are numerous tips you can put to use to reduce your energy bills.
For instance, if you live in Alaska, you’re located in the cool region. In this region, dense windbreaks, such as tightly-planted evergreen trees, should be put in place to block winter winds. Those of you located in Florida are in the hot-humid region. In this region, homeowners should channel summer breezes to the home through planting positions.
Click here to discover landscaping tips for energy efficiency in your region.
Source: Energy Savers, U.S. Department of Energy
Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)
The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) has represented independent oil and natural gas producers for three-quarters of a century. Today, IPAA represents the thousands of independent oil and natural gas producers and service companies across the United States. Independent producers develop 95 percent of domestic oil and gas wells, produce 68 percent of domestic oil and produce 82 percent of domestic natural gas.
Currently IPAA has started a new oil campaign called Declaration of Independents. Since the inception of the campaign, IPAA has tirelessly worked to provide data to support their position. In a recent press release IPAA showed some of the data that they worked to collect. As more data becomes available, IPAA will update their figures to be as up-to-date as possible. You can find the press release—which includes all of the data– as well as more information on IPAA at www.ipaa.org.