The Grand Energy Transition

The consumption of energy is fundamental for the existence and growth of civilization; however, the continuing use of our past principal sources of energy, coal and oil, has brought the world and America face to face with three intolerable consequences. The “three intolerables” are:

1. The risk of oil price-shocks and related destabilization of the
global economy.

2. The loss of national security for America and all nations relying
on oil imports, as well as the increasing potential for more “oil wars.”

3. The enormous risks of costs from the rapidly increasing possibility
of devastating climate change.

The Grand Energy Transition, The GET, is an ongoing, powerful evolutionary energy transition that is bringing civilization out of a millennia-long epoch of limited, unsustainable dirty, solid fuels, through what history will record as a relatively short liquid transition to a future epoch of sustainable, virtually limitless, clean gaseous fuels – called by the author, the “Age of Energy Gases.” The GET shows us how to accelerate the transition to the sustainable energy gases of natural gas, wind, solar and hydrogen that can eliminate the civilization threatening consequences of continued coal and foreign oil consumption.

By viewing energy consumption based upon its state of matter rather than the fuel itself, an ongoing powerful evolutionary transition is revealed that clearly shows our energy past, present and future. And most important today, as these potentially deadly “three intolerables” are materializing, The GET shows us which energy sources and technologies are likely to be the winners and which are likely to be the losers. By concentrating our best minds, capital, policies and national will upon the winners, we will be able to rapidly accelerate The GET – “Jet The GET.” Click here to read Chapter 12 – Policies to Accelerate the GET (252k PDF).

In his book, Robert A. Hefner III, a life-time natural gas explorer, producer, energy thinker and theorist, explains the workings of The GET, and recognizing the long history in which natural gas has been considered a superior fuel, but of limited supply, he takes head-on the case for natural gas abundance. He argues that natural gas supplies are not related directly to oil, and that natural gas is a much larger resource than liquid oil in both America and the world. Hefner also makes the case that America’s attainable natural gas supplies are likely as large as or possibly larger than the U.S.’s remaining minable coal. Click here to read Chapter 7 – Natural Gas Abundance (220k PDF).

Hefner calls for immediate policy actions in the power generation and transportation sectors to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. In the power generation sector, he advocates (1) implementing a policy that requires combined cycle natural gas electrical power generation be run at the highest efficient capacity possible and be used before coal, thereby creating the potential to replace about a third of all the coal-fired electricity in the United States without building a new plant and, at the same time, lowering annual U.S. CO2 emissions by an astonishing several hundred million tons per year; and (2) mandating that no new power plant be built that is not as clean and green as natural gas.

In the transportation sector, Hefner calls for retrofitting half of America’s vehicle fleet to natural gas. He shows that the essential part of the infrastructure is already in place with the existence of a 2.4 million mile natural gas pipeline grid that connects most of the metropolitan gasoline stations as well as 65 million homes where approximately 130 million automobiles reside. Hefner notes also that the industry is rapidly adding fueling stations across America.

Hefner also proposes bold new policy initiatives based upon his belief that tax, economic, energy and environmental policies are inextricably and systemically connected. Basing his policy recommendations upon America’s need for economic recovery and global competitive advantage in the coming decades, as well as a massive shift away from coal and foreign oil energy consumption to forestall further costs of the “three intolerables,” he calls for the elimination of taxes on labor and capital, which would be a large scale stimulus to the economy, to be replaced with a green consumption based tax levied initially principally upon the use of coal and oil, which is causing 80% or more of the growing costs of those intolerables.