February 2012 CEA Newsletter
Issue 59


Three ways energy is an election year issue

If you tuned into the recent State of the Union address, you may have noticed how the topic of energy received prominent play. We’re happy with the President’s stated plans to increase domestic oil and gas production, and we’re just as heartened by his acknowledgement that energy policy is at the core of our country’s economic health.

Now, in a couple of recent reviews of that State of the Union address – here and here – we’ve also stressed that words are not enough. President Obama’s policies to date – from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska – have often been inconsistent with his stated commitment to expanding domestic oil production. We’re hopeful that his recent words signal a shift in policy, but we will also remain watchful. A few weeks ago, in our New Year’s Resolutions post, we implored readers to pay attention to the issues that really matter, and get involved. This 2012 election cycle is the perfect opportunity to tell elected officials and those running for office about how you and your family have fared in the current economic climate, and how energy policies have affected your life.

You can also remind voters about these very specific ways that energy policy matters to them:

–Family budgets: If it’s not the pain at the gas pump, it’s the queasy feeling you get before you open your monthly heating oil bill. At CEA, we often show historical gasoline price charts, but focus less often on charts like this one, showing long-term trends in heating oil prices. But if you ever wonder why cash is tight during the winter months, the rising cost of heating oil could be a big part of it. Sure you can try to conserve fuel, but it’s virtually impossible to live without energy. More and more, it consumes a substantial chunk of the typical family budget.

–Jobs: Energy policy can create – or destroy – jobs in multiple ways. More expensive fuel can increase the cost of doing business and make all sorts of consumer goods less affordable. And in a more direct way, domestic energy activity, whether building wind power plants, drilling exploratory wells in Alaska, or expanding gas production in one of the many shale formations around the country, creates jobs.

–National infrastructure: A generation ago, a nation in the midst of a deep depression put its support behind the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, an 800-mile-long piece of infrastructure than enabled producers in the northernmost part of Alaska to move their oil to the port of Valdez in the south, and on to consumers in the lower 48 states. For 35 years that pipeline has continued to serve as a critical vessel for transporting fuel. These days, it’s common for politicians to voice support for the sort of large infrastructure projects that not only create jobs but also lay the physical foundation for our nation’s growth. But we’re less likely to see them follow through. The Keystone XL Pipeline, one of the largest infrastructure projects to be proposed in recent years, was recently rejected by the Administration. As for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, its future remains in limbo. With oil production in Northern Alaska declining, new supplies of oil from offshore Alaska will be needed to keep the pipeline open and keep fueling consumers on the West Coast. There’s also a shortage of other key energy infrastructure such as solar and wind transmission lines.  Simply put, a strong energy future will require us to maintain and expand our nation’s ailing energy infrastructure.

This election season, we’re going to hear an awful lot of rhetoric about creating jobs, growing the middle class and building for our future. But rhetoric won’t pay the heating bill and it won’t help you find a job. Energy matters to all of us. We need to support policymakers who not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk.

David Holt

Tell the Obama Administration That We Need to Build the Keystone XL Pipeline

The construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline will provide significant economic benefits to American workers and American energy consumers across the United States. Despite the enormous impact the pipeline will have for our nation’s energy security, the Obama Administration had refused to green-light construction until after this year’s presidential election. After years of environmental review and the recent months of high-stake politicking, Congress determined it was time for the President to make a decision.

Unfortunately, President Obama has decided to put the agenda of opposition groups before America’s economy and energy security. Now it’s up to us to make our voices heard and make sure the president reverses course and approves the Keystone XL Pipeline, as well as the jobs, investment and energy security that come with it.

For more information please go to www.buildkxlnow.org

Looking Forward to Energy Day 2012

Now that the inaugural Energy Day festival has come and gone, it is time we look forward to the future and Energy Day 2012. Energy Day 2012 will take place at Hermann Square, City Hall in Downtown Houston, Texas on Saturday, October 20, 2012. The festival will once again feature  live music, food, contests and most importantly interactive exhibits and demonstrations showcasing all forms of energy from oil and natural gas to solar and hydropower and everything in between, as well as efficiency and conservation.

CEA will also continue working with our Academic Partners to engage students in energy education through the Energy Day Academic Program (EDAP).  EDAP was created to reward students who strive for greatness in energy-related academic competitions that run throughout the school year.   Those who win at an Energy Day Academic Program event will be awarded for their excellence and commitment to energy and education.  The 2012 Energy Day Academic Program consists of the following competitions:

February 18, 2012: The HoustonWorks USA & Schlumberger E2 Engineering Excellence Competition

March 1-3, 2012: The Science and Engineering Fair of Houston

March 31, 2012: The CSTEM Challenge

May 2012: Houston: Energy City of the Future 2050 Competition

May 19, 2012: The Children’s Museum of Houston Young Inventors’ Showcase

Spring 2012: The HGS/HMNS/CEA Art, Essay & Media Contests

For more information on Energy Day 2012 or the 2012 EDAP events, please contact Kathleen Koehler at KKoehler@consumerenergyalliance.org.

CEA In the News

CEA finished 2012 with a strong presence in the media.  Throughout the month of January CEA received media hits from all forms of media including radio, TV, blogs, news articles, press releases and more.  The topics with significant contributions to this success are the Keystone XL Debate and the President’s State of the Union Address.

A few of the highlights of CEA’s recent media success:

  • Keystone XL
    • This press release from CEA Affiliate National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) describes the disappointment with President Obama’s decision not to build KXL.
    • Read CEA President David Holt’s view on how the denial of KXL will hurt the country here.
    • CEA helped place this piece which discusses the positive views of Keystone XL.
    • Hot Air discusses how the rejection of Keystone XL by President Obama may affect the upcoming elections.
    • President SOTU
      • This article provides statements from CEA President David Holt as well as other industry experts on their reactions to President Obama’s address
      • Big Government published this blog written by David Holt.

That is just a small sampling of CEA’s public presence in the media over the past 30 days.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Craig Koshkin at CKoshkin@consumerenergyalliance.org.

Upcoming Events

HoustonWorks USA & Schlumberger E2 Engineering Excellence Competition

February 18, 2012

Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, Texas

The Fourth Annual E2 Engineering Excellence Competition sponsored by HoustonWorks USA and Schlumberger invites students from elementary, middle, and high schools to compete during this city-wide event. The competition is open to public, private, charter, and home school students who have an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

This competition provides students with a STEM foundation to successfully compete with their peers, and it encourages them to create and explore a vision of future technology by combining their imaginations with the tools of science. It also provides students an opportunity that requires them to use skills such as problem-solving, research and presentation skills, practical math, science applications, and computer skills.

For information on entering or questions, please contact Francheska Williams at 713.654.1919 Ext. 1212 or STEM@Houstonworks.org.

Winning students will be recognized at the E2 Engineering Excellence Competition Awards Ceremony, will receive awards at Energy Day, and will be invited to display their projects at Energy Day on October 20, 2012.


Science and Engineering Fair of Houston

March 1-3, 2012

George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas

Since 1960, SEFH has promoted the “learning and applications of science and technology” for Texas junior and senior high schools students in Houston and the surrounding 23-county area. SEFH is a regional fair, associated with the INTEL International Science & Engineering Fair and is one of the largest pre-college STEM activities in the U.S.

March 1 is project registration and setup day; March 2 is judging day; and on March 3, the projects are on public display from 9:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in Hall D of the George R. Brown Convention Center. The Awards Ceremony is from 2:30-5:30 p.m. in Hall D.

For information on entering or questions, please visit www.sefhouston.org.

Winning students will be recognized at the SEFH Awards Ceremony, will receive awards at Energy Day, and will be invited to display their projects at Energy Day on October 20, 2012.

Reliable Renewables

Reliable Renewables, LLC was founded to develop, market, own, and operate biomass gasification energy centers with technology refined and utilized in Europe to meet aggressive renewable targets and incentives.  They believe this technology has the ability to positively impact communities, energy consumers, and the environment – with compelling economics

Reliable Renewables, LLC, develops markets, owns, and operates biomass gasification energy centers.  They produce renewable synthetic gas and electricity when consumers need it – anytime, all the time.

Their energy centers are small enough to be considered distributed generation and large enough to power thousands of homes.  Reliable Renewables, LLC reduces consumers’ energy costs by locating energy centers adjacent to fuel supplies, and by enabling local combined heat and power (CHP) applications.

Their energy centers produce no smoke and discharge no effluent.  Additional environmental benefits include the production of biochar, a soil additive that reduces crop water and fertilizer consumption, and sequesters carbon.

For more information please visit the Reliable Renewables website: http://www.rrbtu.com.