“Things are looking pretty good in the energy world.”
That is the opinion of an energy expert who spoke about the future of energy in the United States to the Rotary Club of Cleveland Tuesday.
J. Winston Porter worked with Bechtel’s environmental department and also did work on the master plan for the $30 billion Jubel Industrial City in Saudi Arabia.
He has also served as an assistant administrator of the EPA and is now an independent consultant within the energy and environmental sectors.
Winston said 91 percent of the country’s energy comes from the traditional sources of petroleum, gas and oil, with the other 9 percent being recyclable sources such as hydroelectric power, wind and solar.
“Wind and solar are growing fairly quickly, but the problem is they are starting with a small base, and other issues,” Winston said.
He said in Tennessee, 31 percent of the energy used is petroleum based with coal at 23 percent.
Nuclear energy in the state accounts for 14 percent of the energy used.
“I’m all for any of this,” Winston said. “I think we should have an ‘all of the above’ strategy,” Winston said.
He said the cost of natural gas has “gotten much less costly in the last five years” with the price being $3 for a million BTUs.
“In Japan, the cost is $17 or $18. There’s a lot of room here to work, if you’re selling and they’re buying,” Winston said.
He said the range is the same for Europe and India as well, and it may have an impact on the situation in Ukraine.
“If we can provide more energy in there where the Russians can’t just turn everybody on and off when they want to, that will be a big deal. That’s a few years away,” he said.
He also noted the U.S. is selling a lot of coal to Germany, which has gotten rid of its nuclear plants.
Winston also dispelled the notion the U.S. gets all its oil from the Middle East.
“It’s mostly Canada,” he said. “We have a pretty good thing going for us, because Canada has lots and lots of oil and gas, they are willing to trade with us.”
According to Winston, Canada provides 28 percent of the petroleum products to the U.S., with Saudi Arabia a distant second at 14 percent.
Winston said the country needs to use “all of its tools.”
“I get really irritated when I see them trying to ban this or that,” he said. “We’re not ready to ban anything. As long as they meet the environmental conditions and are economically viable, I’d like to see us keep all these things.”