Shale boom called bridge to clean energy future

America’s shale revolution could pave the way toward new sustainable economic development, according to a recently-published white paper by Deloitte’s Center for Energy Solutions.

“The shale boom creates a 20-year opportunity to trail-blaze a new technology path—and with it a new sustainable economic development path,” said the white paper’s author, Joseph A. Stanislaw.

In the white paper, Stanislaw says that shale gas and oil can be a bridge to a lower-carbon future.

“Already, the shale gas revolution has helped spur development of wind and solar power, since natural gas-run plants are a complement to the intermittent supply produced by wind and solar. This combination can be the engine that drives America to a low-carbon future,” Stanislaw said.

Stanislaw is the author of the report, was one of the founders of Cambridge Energy Research Associates in 1983. Today he has his own advisory firm that specializes in sustainability and environmentally-sound investment.

The current shale boom provides the chance to develop a new system, from wind and solar technologies, to those for energy efficiency, a smarter grid, and cleaner extraction of conventional fossil fuels like coal and petroleum, Stanislaw said.

It’s important for the United States to export its hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling technology internationally, the author argues.

Unless the U.S. acts to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change, neither will China—the two responsible for almost 50 percent of global carbon emissions, Stanislaw said.

The author also favors enactment of clear regulation to ensure that fracking is done in an environmentally benign manner. There is much public concern over fracking’s impact on water and any serious accident could chill the shale revolution, according to the Deloitte report.

In the Deloitte report Stanislaw supports setting a “realistic price for carbon is a goal that might be achieved through a carbon tax that is carefully constructed over a timeframe that allows for adaptation to the tax and for technology to evolve.”

The May Deloitte report by Stanislaw is titled: “America’s newfound power What the U.S. should do to capitalize on the shale and renewable energy revolutions.”