Is Shale Gas the U.S. Energy Savior?

From Forbes:
Over the past few decades we’ve seen time and again how energy prices will move – up or down – seemingly on a whim.   This volatility of energy prices has served only to intensify our need to find viable, reliable, cost-efficient energy solutions. 
There are many potential solutions on the horizon.  But these days many seem to think the light at the end of the energy tunnel is natural gas.

According to Time Magazine’s Fareed Zakaria, “The International Energy Agency says global gas production will rise 50 percent by the year 2035; two-thirds of that growth will come from unconventional sources like shale — a market the U.S. completely dominates.  We’ve become the world’s lowest-cost producer of natural gas.” 
In addition to that good news, Zakaria goes on to talk about how it’s possible to use liquefied natural gas as a substitute for oil as a transportation fuel and to use natural gas to generate electricity. 
Fuel cells also benefit from natural gas.  Fuels cells use hydrogen to generate electricity.  Reforming natural gas generates hydrogen.  An abundance of low-cost natural gas will be a boon to the fuel cell industry – one which Ohio already has invested more than $85 million over the past decade. 
In addition, recent EPA regulations are forcing many utilities to consider closing down aging coal-fired plants and to seek alternatives to coal   –   including natural gas. 
Moreover, there is additional good news for my corner of the world – Northeast Ohio.  Ohio is sitting atop some of the largest shale deposits – i.e. natural gas and “wet gas” – known today.  
According to an economic study sponsored by the Ohio Shale Coalition, the shale industry will contribute nearly $5 billion to Ohio’s gross state product and 66,000 jobs to the state’s workforce by 2014. And, we are already seeing some of this activity come to fruition. 
“The shale gas drilling activity that is occurring both nationally and in Ohio is having a significant impact on our business,” said James Griffith, President & CEO of The Timken Company. “As a specialty alloy steel and industrial components manufacturer, we have seen an increase in demand for our steel and bearing products significantly driven by heavy truck and drilling companies in the oil and gas industry. In fact, the energy and industrial market demand was one of the reasons we decided to invest an additional $225 million to expand our Faircrest Steel Plant near Canton, Ohio, to serve the needs of our expanding customer base.”
Read the rest of the article here.

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