DOE Sec. Perry’s “New Energy Realism” (freedom and fossil fuels are essential, moral, unstoppable)

By Robert Bradley Jr.

“The lesson is clear. We don’t have to choose between growing our economy and caring for our environment. By embracing innovation over regulation, we can benefit both. And THAT is the heart of our New Energy Realism.”

“… our successes refute old myths, debunk false choices, and transcend limitations, pointing the way to global energy security and shared prosperity. This dramatic progress is a decisive break from the 1970s, when America began pursuing a fundamentally flawed energy policy for which we paid dearly.”

At yesterday’s CERA conference, DOE Secretary Rick Perry did not quite come out and say it. But it’s a fossil-fuel world. Some bones were thrown out for the politically correct, economically incorrect energies (grid wind and solar, as well as batteries/electric vehicles), but make no mistake. The philosophy of the US Department of Energy is let the US-led global boom in oil, natural gas, and coal continue.

Oil, gas, and coal? Yes …. Ethanol? Not mentioned…. Domestic production?  Yes….  Domestic usage?  Yes….  Exports?  Yes….. Regulation?  No …. Sacrifice?  No…. Pessimism?  No.

Climate change?  No mention….

Read between the lines. The fossil fuel boom is great for America and the world. Peak Oil and “the limits to growth” are refuted. Energy reliability (versus intermittency) is key. Heavy regulation of oil and gas is failure. New regulation and pain are unnecessary.

And you don’t even need to mention the Green New Deal.

There were some low points in Perry’s speech. Overlook the sentence beginning with : “… we promote renewables….” (That’s cronyism.) Banish the words “As we progress toward zero-emissions as a goal ….” (certainly not for CO2.)  Understand the praise for the National Labs from a Chief Bureaucrat.  But all in all, the speech was plenty good from the head of an agency that needs to be abolished in total in any serious deficit-reduction plan.

The Obama era’s creeping radicalism to “keep fossil fuels in the ground” is being reversed. The CO2 mitigation window for the activists is closing rapidly, with the world energy market leaving the Paris accord in shambles. It’s a fossil-fuel world.

Excerpts from his speech follow:

“Just the other day the Meridian Spirit embarked from Sabine Pass with an LNG shipment to India. And just last week a LNG tanker left Cove Point, Maryland with its first shipment. These shipments underscore the Trump Administration’s desire to export more natural resources and innovation technologies to the world.”

“DOE [recently] met with producers and midstream developers to identify the next generation of technologies to unlock more of our nation’s resources. Whether carbon capture, developing new solar technology or stepping up efforts on storage, there is a tremendous amount of optimism in the energy sector and for obvious reasons.”

“Energy security is a roadmap to economic prosperity.”

“But today, we have the opportunity to reaffirm a new direction which I call the New Energy Realism. This ‘new energy realism’ rests on the fact that America is in the midst of incredible energy progress.”

“Due to a cascade of technological breakthroughs driven by innovation, America is producing abundant, affordable energy from a wider range of sources than we ever thought possible … and we are using this energy more cleanly and more efficiently as well.”

“… our successes refute old myths, debunk false choices, and transcend limitations, pointing the way to global energy security and shared prosperity. This dramatic progress is a decisive break from the 1970s, when America began pursuing a fundamentally flawed energy policy for which we paid dearly.”

“Those who believed in it claimed that the days of energy abundance were over.  It was said we had a permanent energy shortage. It was said that even if we discovered new reserves, they would be too costly to produce or impossible to use without harming the environment. And the solution proposed was a bleak one — draconian regulation of energy.”

“Truth be told, we had no shortage of energy. What we had was a shortage of imagination and a loss of confidence in our ability to innovate. Clearly, the naysayers weren’t realists at all… they were pessimists blinded to the reality of America’s innovative capabilities. And unfortunately, this blindness ruled in one of the least innovative places on earth….Washington, D.C.”

“In a place that so obviously favored regulation over innovation, it was no surprise when the government used one thumb to promote a favorite technology and the other hand to regulate those they didn’t like.”

“In states like Texas, taxes were cut and regulations kept simple and transparent, giving people both the freedom and the incentive to innovate. And with innovation came a revolution in energy technology.”

“As a former Texas governor, I’m proud that the major breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – leading to our historic natural gas boom — began right here in this state.”

“From fossil fuels to renewables…supply rose…costs fell…efficiencies increased…and diversity blossomed. And something else happened as well. Our environment did not become worse. By nearly any measure, it became better, even as our economy expanded and energy development reached new heights.”

“The lesson is clear. We don’t have to choose between growing our economy and caring for our environment. By embracing innovation over regulation, we can benefit both. And THAT is the heart of our New Energy Realism.”

“Over the past year, President Trump and his Administration have brought this realistic view to Washington… and we are seeing its benefits. He has cut taxes and reduced regulations by historic numbers, putting Washington squarely on the side of innovators and investors.”

“… this can only help the President’s plan to spur the construction of more infrastructure. Tax reductions will cut a major cost of doing business, while his proposal to reduce the permitting process to just two years will give investors the confidence to provide the necessary capital and communities visibility on project completion.”

“The President has also signed off on critical new pipelines. He has removed draconian oil-and-gas restrictions on responsible exploration, supported clean coal technologies, and seeks to reinvigorate civilian nuclear energy. 

“America is now on the cusp of energy independence, but the President would like to go farther. He would like to share our energy bounty with the world and let the spirit of competition benefit consumers by providing more choices in the marketplace. Already, we are sharing our natural gas.”

“Last year, we became a net natural gas exporter. Today, we export LNG to 27 nations on five continents.”

“We are increasing our coal exports substantially.  These exports rose by an estimated 61 percent last year over 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Last August, the first shipment of Pennsylvania thermal coal bound for Ukraine left the Port of Baltimore. In the coming years, we will be exporting multiple fuels.”

“And not only that. We will export the same technologies that made us a clean, abundant, and diverse energy producer in the first place. By exporting our energy, we can free our friends and allies from fuel dependence on unfriendly nations.

“And by exporting our energy technology and know-how, we can help developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia create their own energy renaissance and harness more energy to improve the lives of their citizens.”

“And that includes access to electricity. Over a billion people live without it.  We want to reduce that number substantially in the coming years.”

“Now some aren’t happy with us exporting this technology because they oppose most energy production, specifically that of fossil fuels, which comprise 80 percent of world energy usage and continue to produce carbon emissions. I fear that this is the mindset of the Paris Agreement.”

“And while studies show that even by the year 2040, fossil fuels will still comprise 77 percent of world energy use, I believe that continued technological breakthroughs will help us defy this prediction.”

“What are the people without electricity supposed to do?  Remember what we have done through technology…..we have not only produced more fossil energy with it; we’ve made that energy cleaner.”

“Since we’re making coal cleaner and since our technology can affordably extract massive amounts of lower-emissions natural gas, we’re likely to continue to reduce the overall emissions of our fossil fuels. That, again, is the New Energy Realism.”

“Thanks to the amazing power of human ingenuity and innovation, we don’t have to tolerate the intolerable…we don’t have to accept hideous sacrifices that harm the poorest among us.”

“And so let us reject the old energy pessimism – and embrace the New Energy Realism…. We would welcome – and help lead – a global alliance of countries willing to help make fossil fuels cleaner, rather than abandoning them. This will help nations diversify their energy supply…a key to achieving energy security.”

“And from that energy security… comes prosperity: affordability, economic growth…rising opportunities…optimism…and, most importantly, the freedom for each individual to pursue and achieve their dreams.”

“Combining opportunity with the freedom to design your own energy future, will enable the production of more energy from more sources, more affordably, and in a cleaner way than it ever could have in freedom’s absence.”

“It is by embracing this New Energy Realism that we will all move toward greater energy security and a brighter, more prosperous future. Let all nations embrace it – and the spirit of imagination and innovation that drives it – for their own sake and for the sake of the world.”

62 thoughts on “DOE Sec. Perry’s “New Energy Realism” (freedom and fossil fuels are essential, moral, unstoppable)

    • One thing the children could be told is that according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Arctic ice extent was greater on March 10, 2019 (14,696 km2) than on March 10, 2006 (14.620 km2). Cross cherry-picking on my part but for Al Gore it’s still an “inconvenient truth”. Obviously, the Arctic ice isn’t going to be disappearing anytime soon. Stop worrying and stop skipping school.

  1. This report from the CERA conference and DOE Secretary Rick Perry reveal very clearly the ignorance, confusion and lack of intelligence being applied to the future of energy supply, the environment, and so-called ‘renewables’. At least it did not subject us to mention of ‘so-called ‘Climate change.

  2. What a damn pity Rick Perry was recovering from back surgery during the 2012 Presidential debates. Pain meds do make someone come across as an airhead. IMHO, Perry would have been a better candidate than Romney.

      • Whatever, he knows how to choose a good speechwriter though. I enjoyed reading that immensely.

      • Rick Perry is not an “airhead.” He has uttered some classic gaffes, but he’s not an airhead… at least no more of an airhead than most politicians.

        There’s an old saying here, “Rick Perry never won a debate, but never lost an election.” Airheads don’t win three straight gubernatorial elections, including one in which another Republican takes 18% of the vote (thank God for Kinky Friedman).

        Perry also trounced Kay Bailey Hutchison in the 2010 GOP primary.

        Thus far, he has been, by far, the best Secretary of Energy in the department’s history. Unlike his “rocket scientist” predecessors, Perry has focused like a laser beam on energy production.

      • Have you met him? I have. Smart guy, personable and someone to look up to.

        We met at a Springhill Suites one morning near a DOE facility. I asked him why he was staying at a cheap hotel when there were luxury places nearby? “Nice place, cheap and a good free breakfast!” I thanked him as a taxpayer.

        Later that day he toured the facility and spent time with us, asking questions about what we were doing. The typical stupid politicians usually make a speech, leave. He genuinely was interested in the site activities.

        A very level headed man, correcting the idiocy of the last administration. I wish him well!

      • Maybe he is an airhead. Still, he is smarter and has a better grip on reality than any ten Democrats put together.

        (Not fair. The more Democrats you get together, they more that feed off each other’s insanity and they spiral into total, howling at the moon lunacy. So sad.)

        • Perry was smart enough to switch parties in 1988… He used to be a Democrat and ran Al Gore’s failed Texas campaign when Al Gore used to be a moderate Democrat.

  3. … and CO2 is our friend. It is not a pollutant anymore than water in the air is. To make claims that arbitrary temperature numbers like 1.5 C or 2 C is going to devastate the planet are plain dishonesty at work. Modest warming of several degrees C is better for everyone and everything, including energy usage for heating.

    To claim otherwise is a demonstration of intellectual dishonesty and/or complete ignorance of our natural world.

    Sadly, the Left hates hearing the truth. On everything from climate is a non-problem, to 2 biological genders, to murdering full-term babies in the womb… they love their lies.

    • warming of several degrees C
      The Big Lie is in the use of averages. As the saying goes: averages can be misleading. So it is for global waining and climate change.

      most of the observed and projected increase will make cold places warmer, while warm places will remain largely unchanged.

      Sort of like a thermostat on a furnace. The furnace only affects the minimum temperature. The maximum temperature is controlled by nature.

      We don’t consider the unnatural heating of minimum temperatures by a furnace to be much of a treat. In fact we consider it a very important feature.

      So it is with global warming and climate change. It only looks like a problem when reported in terms of averages.

    • To be a Leftist is to be rather proud of being taught what to think and to ignore the Art of How to Think-for oneself.

      Developmental psychology has elucidated the developmental phases of thought for the individual and speculated on the evolution of thought for groups of people over time. Broadly they describe Archaic, Tribal, Magical, Mythical, , Religious/Ethical, Empirical/Pragmatic, Rational/Scientific, and Post Modernist developmental Stages. With earlier stages representing the steps in a ladder to higher conceptual capabilities. I refuse to accept that Post Modernism should be considered anything of the sort. It’s of some interest that Post Modernist Social Scientists most of whom are women believe in neither Objective truth nor the Aristolian Square of Opposition denying the idea of logical contradiction saying that they are illegitimate forms of The White Male Hierarchy and Social Economic Hegemony, even though the majority of Med School applicants and enrollees are now Women. Post modernists insist that truth is relative, constructionist, a social product of the prevailing time and culture and subjective in nature. Everything written can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways. Abolishing the value of Pragmatic and Objective systems of thought, leaves them with Tribal, Magical, Mythical, Religious as the more Archaic bases for Post Modernism. That Religious groups are now being recruited by the IPCC though it contradicts the atheistic Marxist- Leninist roots of Post Modernism and Environmentalism shows how desperate they’ve become and how oblivious they are to the contradictions of their own positions.

      Every human being still experiences times of Tribal thinking because it is built into our neuroanatomy and the flight or fight response to threat, at the level of the Mid Brain, Thalmus, Hypothalmus, Basal Ganglia, i.e. the Reptilian brain. Structures that evolution created to by pass the cerebral hemispheres associated with rational thought in order to keep us alive under far more threatening circumstances than a 1-2 C degree rise in average temperatures over the next century. Neuroscientists and Neuro-Psychologists have also commented on the much greater density of neural connections identified going from the mid brain and brain stem to the cerebral neo cortex than in the opposite direction. So what is controlling what in the human brain? The WWW, the Internet, Social Media, on line peer groups, have all aggravated and reinforced this innate but primitive way of Tribal thinking.

      Perhaps this is why it’s so hard to change Leftist minds on these matters-because it’s no longer the rational mind of the individual in play but that of the Mammalian brain of the herd, the Tribe. The individual can not surrender what is not his alone to give.

  4. I stayed a couple weeks with a middle class family in the most “carbon neutral” city on Earth last Fall. It felt to me like state imposed poverty. The simplest task was made more difficult because of the poor logistics of the place and the people all moved like they had joint problems.

    • Patrick MJD

      Dylan McConnell said Carnegie’s wave technology had been “blown out of the water” by the cheaper cost of wind and solar.

      Man, it must have been REALLY expensive!

  5. Utter nonsense.

    Burning and extracting fossil fuel is not compatible with safeguarding your environment, even if you leave climate change out of the picture.

    and, sadly, the USA isn’t growing anything: the rest of the world pushes ahead with major infrastructure problems while the US explains why it is impossible to make its trains go faster than 90 mph (2,500 miles of new high speed rail in china last year).

    • So the extra carbon dioxide from combustion of fossil fuels isn’t contributing to greening the Earth, leading to increased agricultural productivity and improved drought resistance?

    • griff

      On the other hand, Extracting and Burning fossil fuels is a really good idea, it works much better than Burning and then trying to Extract them because when burned they emit lots of CO2 which is very good for humans and plants. Indeed, they are so good some call the sequestered sunshine.

      How many miles of track has America built in it’s lifetime of Democracy compared to those built by slave labour under communism?

      Your comparison is that of a child.

    • and, sadly, the USA isn’t growing anything: the rest of the world pushes ahead with major infrastructure problems while the US explains why it is impossible to make its trains go faster than 90 mph (2,500 miles of new high speed rail in china last year).

      Just about everyone here who would benefit from high speed rail can afford automobiles and Southwest Airlines tickets.

      This didn’t happen without “major infrastructure”…

      By 2025, the US will become a net exporter of crude oil.

      This didn’t happen without “major infrastructure”…

      The “major infrastructure” required for this is already under construction…

    • It’s not useful to lump fossil fuels, when we know natural gas is much cleaner and burns more efficiently than coal. It’s also important to differentiate between a modern thermal plant equipped with scrubbers and Chinese plants.

      Regarding high speed trains, that seems to be a left wing fetish. The California high speed rail was just cancelled because it was considered a huge waste of money. However, we have to be realistic and understand Marxist economic principles ignore the concept of profit, and many Democrats think they can justify their dumb ideas “because the government can print money to pay for everything, including a decent welfare check for those unwilling to work”.

      • The “funny” thing is that high-speed rail between Houston and Dallas may actually get built… entirely with private sector capital. Texas Central is moving ahead with a high-speed rail project from Houston to Dallas… without the State of Texas spending a dime.

        If it delivers as promised, it will be a 90 minute ride each way.

        • I remember being in Houston and marveling at a 6-lane toll road, in a fairly sparsely settled area north (if I remember correctly) of the city, with a 3-lane service road on each side of the toll road. At the time/day I was there just a few cars were on it.

    • It really fascinates me how those on the left are utterly convinced that everything they want must be good for you.
      They want everyone to ride trains, therefore trains are necessary for an economy to function.
      They want everyone to use unreliable, expensive, “renewable” energy, therefore unreliable, expensive, “renewable” energy is the wave of the future.

      PS: The other standard is to lie about what others have been saying. This is something griff has a PhD in.
      Nobody is claiming that it is impossible to make trains go faster than 90mph. Just that you can’t do it on existing track, the track has to be upgraded, and that there’s no economic reason for doing so.

      • He also forgets the 2500 miles of steel comes from…diggi ng up iron ore and making steel, with coking coal. Then 2500 miles of concrete sleepers and 2500 miles of overhead cables (Assuming that is the system used).

        Many politicians have talked about high speed rail before (HSR) without doing the numbers. It works out that the cost to the passenger is more than than twice that of an airfare.

    • …the USA isn’t growing anything: the rest of the world pushes ahead with major infrastructure problems…”

      Two thoughts here: I finally realized where griff is coming from… if it’s not owned or at least financed by the government, it doesn’t exist.

      He got it exactly right on the “rest of the world”… all they are “push[ing] ahead with” is “problems” (sic)!!!

    • Utter nonsense.

      Without the “extracting and burning of fossil fuels,” humans would have denuded the landscape of every tree in existence trying not to freeze to death, and to cook their food. Not to mention you couldn’t construct a single one of your useless pet windmills and solar panels without the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.

      7.7 BILLION humans with no fossil fuels = mass starvation, death and poverty. Which also means NOBODY WILL CARE about “safeguarding” the “environment.” They would be too busy cannibalizing the “environment” to “survive.”

    • The USA has the premier train system in the world. Railroads are a great freight solution and a poor passenger solution. Freight trains make money and pay taxes. Passenger trains lose money and require government assistance to survive. America does trains right.

    • while the US explains why it is impossible to make its trains go faster than 90 mph

      What is it with fascists and their obsession with trains and getting them to go on time?

    • Here is a factoid for you: Because US railways aren’t built and/or heavily subsidized by the government, US railway freight prices are the lowest in the world. European rail was built and is run with passenger trains in mind, and freight plays second fiddle. In the US it is just the opposite. When it comes to passenger trains, due to the low density of the US population, and the size of the country, other forms of passenger transportation (outside of the high-density North East) are cheaper and faster than trains.

  6. From the UK, when I read the headline I thought for one moment that our energy minister Claire Perry had experienced a Road to Damascus moment.
    Alas, no such luck.

    • Ian Wilson

      Kidding, right?

      Our politicians are busy, deliberately wrecking the oldest Parliamentary Democracy in the world.

      When we emerge from the Brexit mess we’ll be lucky if every tin pot socialist around the world isn’t celebrating the death of Democracy Marx predicted!

      Had we voted to remain in the EU we would have done so 100%.

      Why is it so difficult for these morons to understand that the expectation of Leave voters was that we Leave 100% and start doing business with a like minded Democracy, America, where early British Colonialism saw the Democratic principle adopted and prove hugely successful!

    • Road to hell more like it. Bloody morons blew up East Tilbury power station yesterday morning. Woke me up! If Hitler had bombed a power station to oblivion the people would have been very angry. But because they voted for said morons they think its good!

  7. Peak oil isn’t really refuted. There’s a limit to what we can extract, the quality and quantity of the oil fields we find via exploration has dropped like a rock and what we find doesn’t replace what we produce. Thus the market forces dictate higher prices will be needed for us to keep up. And we simply can’t go in forever. This is guaranteed.

    • “And we simply can’t go in forever.”

      We can’t go on forever with Earthly fossil fuels, that’s true, although our technology keeps extending the period of use, but fortunately we have viable options such as nuclear power production to substitute for fossil fuels.

      If we were to ramp up our nuclear power production, we could save some of those fossil fuels for a later day and further extend their future use.

      • I agree. I would start by encouraging the development of ~400 MW modular reactors we can install next to large existing coal plants to deliver a heating medium to the existing plant infrastructure. This would allow us to develop the industry, have a learning curve, drop prices, test new wrinkles etc. If we do this for 20 years we can probably evolve those reactors to a much lower cost, safer design, and then they can compete in the market.

    • Peak oil isn’t really refuted.

      Peak oil really isn’t an issue (at least not for many many many years to come). People have been predicting imminent peak oil for several decades now, and every one of those predictions have proven to be spectacularly wrong

      • I wasn’t worried about the world oil industry being able to meet demand until I noticed the industry wasn’t making money exploring for oil. I assume you realize exploration just doesn’t yield the results we used to have. So we had to get into really deep water, very heavy oil, and the light oils and condensate we get out of overpressured source rocks.

        I get this stock answer all the time, but the fact is that the worldwide prospects are getting really slim, and the US is the King Kong of “shale” plays. Did you notice there’s nothing close to the production surge we see in Texas and North Dakota?

  8. From the article: “We are increasing our coal exports substantially. These exports rose by an estimated 61 percent last year over 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).”

    Barack and Hillary said the U.S. coal industry was dead. Wrong!

  9. “We would welcome – and help lead – a global alliance of countries willing to help make fossil fuels cleaner, rather than abandoning them.”
    What the frack does that even mean, “make fossil fuels cleaner”? Does Perry even know? I suspect not, and it’s just one more example of wooly-brained thinking on his part.

    • I’d personally hate to see most of the clean air regulations on fossil fuel power plants removed. We had some pretty atrocious, deadly air pollution from combustion byproducts. Now nice houses can be located nearby and still be highly livable.

      Not to mention asthma, COPD, and cancer.

      At one time parts of Pittsburg and several other cities were enveloped in really pretty dense pollutant-enhanced fogs. The air was so bad in the LA basin at times people couldn’t walk outside.

      No, I don’t want to go back to those days, not now, when we really can afford it with minimal expense.

  10. Off-Topic, But…
    Dear Secretary Perry,

    It has been 4 years since Harry Reed left the Senate. Can we please protect the long-term future of humanity from multiple Fukashima-like events at US nuclear power plants from grid down, by moving spent fuel from their cooling ponds to Yucca Mountain?

    Thank You!

    • I think a better solution would be to take such a valuable resource and consume it in gen 4 reactors. Then take whatever is left (I think about 15% waste) and bury it (that is, assuming human ingenuity dosn’t come up up with a use for it before then).

    • btw, there have been no accidents at Fukushima with spent fuel. They “safely” relocated about 1500 spent fuel rods from reactor building 4. Let’s hope and pray that the remaining 1500, or so, rods between buildings 1, 2 and 3 are also sequestered likewise.

      • Frankly, I don’t think that there are any spent MOX (read plutonium) fuel rods atop reactor building 3. It was blown to h3ll; and plutonium ( a component of MOX) has been detected in various parts of northern Japan. Videos showing the reactor 3 blast makes it pretty clear that the whole top of the rector 3 building (where the spent fuel rods were stored) was blown to h3ll.

    • I don’t think we’ve got Nuclear plants exposed to subduction earthquake zone-induced tsunamis, so where exactly do you envision this “risk” of “Fukashima-like events” coming from??

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