Department of Energy

Secretary Moniz: What the Natural Gas Boom Means for the Future of Renewables

May 23, 2013

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Secretary Moniz on Natural Gas and Renewables

In a town hall meeting with Department employees, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz talks about how a boom in natural gas might be a boon for renewable energy.

In a new video released today by the Department of Energy, Secretary Ernest Moniz comments on how the United States should take advantage of the natural gas boom and use it as an opportunity to further develop renewable energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower.  Secretary Moniz, who was sworn into office this Tuesday, May 21, after a 97-0 Senate confirmation last week, made the comments during his first employee Town Hall meeting yesterday. 

“The way I look at it is that this natural gas boom is a boon. First of all, we all know that it is partially responsible for the decrease in CO2 emissions that we have experienced over the last years in the absence of, at least, over-arching legislation. Secondly, what I would argue is that the way to look at it -- and, you know, as gas as kind of a bridge to a very low carbon future -- is that it affords us a little bit more time to develop the technologies, to lower the costs of the alternative technologies, to get the market penetration of these new technologies.

“The key is that buying time is not very useful if you don’t use the time… It means pushing hard on those other technologies, on the renewable technologies. This is the time to get those ready for the marketplace on a big scale. So, this is the decade, I believe the crucial decade, for us to accomplish that. The President’s budget request, I think, strongly aligns with that view.

“Clearly, we need to continue our focus on wind, pushing more offshore wind, for example, where cost reduction is critical. Certainly pushing on solar across the board, and like I say I’m very bullish on solar. I think it’s going to be a lot bigger than most people think sooner than they think in my view. But also, as came out in the confirmation process, strong interest in different regions of the country, in what was termed by Chairman Wyden as the 'forgotten renewables.’ Now they’re not really forgotten, but you know, I think we do need to do a little more looking at engineered geothermal systems, at small hydropower and other options as well.”