“Now, in terms of new sources of energy, we have a few different options. The first is natural gas.” President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama has used a speech delivered at Georgetown University, Washington to release a Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future that outlines a comprehensive national energy policy. Specific mention was made of the vital role to be played by natural gas, including for transport, given the US’s recently confirmed massive shale deposits. “Now, in terms of new sources of energy, we have a few different options. The first is natural gas. Recent innovations have given us the opportunity to tap large reserves –- perhaps a century’s worth of reserves, a hundred years worth of reserves -– in the shale under our feet,” Obama said.
NAT GAS Act
Obama urged legislators to unite in a bipartisan approach to pass legislation, commending politicians for their support of the NAT GAS Act. “Last year, more than 150 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle proposed legislation providing incentives to use clean-burning natural gas in our vehicles instead of oil.”
The NAT GAS Act (New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act), which was introduced in the last Congress, would provide incentives for using natural gas in vehicles, purchasing NGVs, installing natural gas refueling stations and producing natural gas vehicles in America. U.S. Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) says the NAT GAS Act of 2011 will be introduced in the current Congress on April 6.
Oiled turned natural gas champion and lobbyist T. Boone said earlier this week, “I think we’ll get [the NAT GAS Act] through the House before the summer recess.”
NGVAmerica, the trade association that represents the U.S. natural gas vehicle industry, hailed President Obama’s call for the passage of the NAT GAS Act as part of the blueprint. “We commend the President for recognizing the important role that natural gas vehicles must play – and will play — to move the country off of its dependence on foreign oil, and do it quickly, and, importantly, for his calling for passage of the NAT GAS Act,” said Douglas Clark, chairman of NGVAmerica and president of the Metropolitan Utilities District of Omaha, Nebraska.
The bill has widespread support, including backing by the US Conference of Mayors in mid-2010.
“As the President said, we have huge resources of natural gas right here in America,” said Clark. “Increased use of natural gas will not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil while also reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution. At the same time, it will save consumers and fleets money. Last year, natural gas vehicles displaced 360 million gallons of petroleum in the U.S. With encouragement and incentives from the federal government, this could grow to 1.6 billion gallons by 2015.”
NGVAmerica notes NGV-related initiatives called for by the President:
“Leading by Example With the Federal Fleet” by calling directing agencies to ensure that, by 2015, all new vehicles purchased for the federal government fleet of 600,000 will be alternative fuel vehicles. The natural gas vehicle industry already produces a wide – and growing — variety of vehicles powered by natural gas for the U.S. market, from a Honda Civic to 18-wheeler tractors. “NGVs can serve virtually every non-military vehicle need of the federal government, and we stand ready to help the government meet its goal,” said Clark.
“Developing Alternatives to Oil, Including Biofuels and Natural Gas”: With the proper federal support, the availability of renewable natural gas (or biomethane) — produced from landfill gas, sewage and animal, crop and industrial waste – could grow quickly here in America. Biomethane use is rapidly expanding around the world, and has been shown to be the most economic of all biofuels for vehicles.
Obama acknowledged that, “One of the biggest problems we have with alternative energy is not just producing the energy, but also distributing it. We’ve got gas stations all around the country. Well, we’ve got to have that same kind of distribution network when it comes to our renewable energy sources …” He spoke of “investing in fuelling stations” as one of the many measures to encourage uptake of alt-fuel transportation.