A large group of energy insiders gathered in Columbus to learn more about the advances in natural gas. The keynote speaker was former U.S. energy secretary Steven Chu.
Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow talked to the former cabinet member to find out what Ohioans can expect for the future of energy.
When it comes to searching and extracting fossil fuels in America, the state of Ohio has a lot to offer. Former U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the natural gas found inside Ohio’s shale can be extracted while protecting the environment at the same time.
Chu delivered the keynote address at the Think About Energy Summit. He talked about all sorts of things including the low price of natural gas, the resources available in the U.S. and the infrastructure needed to support natural gas development.
The former energy secretary says hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, plays a vital role in extracting natural gas adding that it is important to take the necessary steps to do this without harming the environment.
For Chu, another key step to advancing the future of energy includes upgrading the way energy is transmitted around the country.
Chu: “As we modernize the system—there’s a huge opportunity to make it more efficient—to use all the power generating resources and dispatched in a more efficient way—which actually goes towards lowering the prices. So the technology will make the gases we have more efficiently used. The technology—and just good practices—will mean you don’t use as much energy both in industry and in homes and buildings.”
Expanding the energy portfolio to include natural gas and renewables is important, according to Chu, but that also means lower demand for coal. However, Chu says that coal will still have its place in energy generation to add reliability.
As for energy generation in Ohio specifically, Chu says there are some interesting opportunities on the horizon.
Chu: “I’m a big believer in wind. I think there’s a strong case that can be made for wind off the Great Lakes and I think—where you don’t want large wind turbines in your community, people do not want that—but once you’re ten miles off shore then it becomes a very real possibility.”
While Chu supports the use of fossil fuels he urges for the continued development of renewables in order to offset climate change.