Posted by Ryan Sitton

This is Ryan Sitton, your Texas Railroad Commissioner, with your two-minute energy update.

The last couple of weeks, we got a renewed report about emissions coming from the energy industry. In fact, one thing that was particularly telling in the EIA’s update was that carbon emissions have dropped by 3 percent. This was 2016 over 2015. A 3 percent drop. Some people will assume that, wow, that must come from new wind or new solar energy sources that are being put online. However, these two sources combined only represent about 5 percent of the nation’s electricity consumption. No, where almost all of those CO2 emissions drops came from was the switch from coal powered facilities to natural gas powered facilities. The really interesting part about this is that it wasn’t driven by some green initiative or regulation put on by the federal government. It was driven by the free market. You see over the last eight years, as oil and gas has continued to expand in this country, and in particular as hydraulic fracturing has opened up natural gas reserves in the Barnett and the Marcellus, Fort Worth area, Pennsylvania, new abundance of natural gas has come on the market. We see that in $3 a btu natural gas prices that we’ve experienced in this country over the last few years. This cheap energy source combined with really affordability in construction of new natural gas power plants has made our electricity generators more and more likely to build new facilities to accommodate natural gas. What’s really ironic about this is the opposition we hear constant from the green energy folks in opposition to new pipelines and new oil wells because people oppose hydraulic fracturing.

Interestingly enough, if you want to see CO2 emissions drop, the number one that they should be for is drilling, more hydraulic fracturing, more pipelines. Hopefully we’ll continue to see the free market and the economy of the United States dominate the landscape. And new energy sources fuel our energy needs.

And at the end of the day the environment will take care of itself.

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About the Author
Ryan Sitton

Ryan Sitton

Ryan Sitton is a native Texan who grew up in the Irving area. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Ryan founded PinnacleAIS, an engineering and technology company focused on reliability and integrity programs for the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries. He was elected to the Railroad Commission in 2014 to a six-year term. You can read more about Ryan HERE.

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