It may seem like an odd partnership, but the natural gas industry and the wind industry may join forces.
On May 25, the CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, Denise Bode, teamed up with T. Boone Pickens to craft an op-ed that cast wind and natural gas as the most dynamic of duos.
A Bode-Pickens matchup makes some sense. Both individuals call Oklahoma their home state, both have experience in the fossil fuel industry and both see wind as key to reducing the amount of energy this country imports. The full opinion piece penned by Pickens and Bode can be seen on Politico, but here are a few highlights:
Electric cars underscore the importance of wind, natural gas
President Barack Obama has continued to push for more American cars to be powered with electricity. This could mean big things for the wind industry. If wind can power charging stations that power our cars, it would put a significant dent in the amount of energy we need to import. And because wind is a clean source of energy, such a development would be good news for environmentalists. Of course, there are limitations on what wind can provide when it comes to our transportation needs, and that's where natural gas comes in. “A battery won’t move an 18-wheeler. Neither will ethanol. The only current substitute for imported diesel is domestic natural gas,” read the Pickens-Bode piece.
Passing the Nat Gas Act
House Resolution 1380 is known as the Nat Gas Act
and it is the Pickens-backed solution to transitioning 18-wheelers to natural gas. If passed into law, the Nat Gas Act would provide tax credits for trucking companies to outfit their rigs with natural gas engines. Pickens is heavily invested in the companies that would gain from this transition, but getting our trucks off imported oil would greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stop “the funding of terrorism in the Middle East,” as Pickens frequently says. Of course, there are questions about how safe and clean natural gas really is
as domestic production increases.
Increase in wind capacity continues to have huge impacts
Since 2007, utility-scale wind projects — those are projects that feed electricity into your house — accounted for 35 percent of the U.S. generating capacity. This increase accounts for what Pickens and Bode have named the “wind corridor,” the area from Texas to the Canadian border. This area has seen an increase of 100 wind farms per year since 2007. These numbers show that the wind industry has arrived as a major player on the domestic energy front.