President Obama's recent talk of an "all-of-the-above" approach to energy is no doubt partially motivated by election year politics. That said, there is an important kernel of truth underlying it: no one approach can solve our nation's future energy needs. While some renewable energy advocates want the industry to be the White Knight, the reality is that meeting our energy needs will require fossil fuels and renewables not merely to co-exist, but to co-develop.
This co-existence is particularly critical for two sectors of the industry: solar and natural gas.
Why these two? Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology has fundamentally shifted energy production and consumption in the past ten years. For example, Germany recently set a record by producing 50% of the nation's midday electricity needs from solar. Solar is also cheaper than ever before thanks to massive cost reductions. Solar has earned a place at the mainstream energy table.
It is also clear that the development of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") technology shares the spotlight with solar PV as the greatest revolution in energy in the last 50 years. In just a few short years, our domestic outlook has changed from one of resource shortage to one of abundance. Many unanswered questions remain around fracking"s impact on health and the environment, but the fact remains that just like solar, it has radically increased our energy options. . .View Full Article