Energy: A Cautionary Tale, a Reasonable Approach

By January 21, 2008Energy

Massive power shortages in South Africa, electricity exports stopped to neighboring countries, trains stopped on the tracks, surgeries disrupted. From Business Day, Johannesberg, news from the state utility.

Eskom is unable to meet demand generated by faster than expected economic growth, and has asked the government for money to help cover the cost of its five -year expansion plan, which has doubled to R300bn.

Last week, the utility urged the government not to take on new energy-intensive projects until 2013, and warned the crisis may delay construction of Rio Tinto’s aluminium smelter, SA’s biggest foreign direct investment to date.

More from The Guardian.

And in the letters section of today’s Washington Post, a letter from Barry Russell, president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, responding to President Bush’s recent call for greater oil production on the world market.

[Sending] billions of petrodollars overseas for foreign oil and increasing our reliance on OPEC and unstable nations makes no sense.

Instead, the president should encourage Congress to support an energy policy that increases oil and natural gas production at home. In addition to implementing the Bush administration’s proposals to allow oil exploration in some areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we should also open access to natural gas supplies in the mountain states and allow exploration in federal waters off the coasts of states where there are known to be decades of oil and gas supplies.

Responsible American energy production could stimulate the economy. Job creation and increased royalty and tax revenue to federal, state and local treasuries is another benefit of a healthy American oil and gas industry.

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