May 15, 2001
12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. - “Energy doesn’t just show up on the doorstep,” said Chairman Frank H. Murkowski today during a hearing on federal, state and local impediments to the siting of energy infrastructure. “It has to be transported by tanker, pipeline, or wire. Figuring out where this infrastructure goes often creates months of wrangling, discussion, and debate as public opnion, NIMBYism, regulations, and energy needs collide.” “Will our infrastructure be adequate to ensure consumers reliable and reasonably priced energy over the long term? California’s energy problems are a case study of what can happen when you ignore these issues,” Murkowski said. “California has resisted building new powerplants. It has resisted building new electric transmission lines, and it has resisted building new natural gas pipelines. It should come as little surprise that California has electricity shortages and price-spikes, and some of the highest oil and natural gas prices in the United States.” Murkowski noted that the nation’s overall electricity demand is expected to grow by 1.8 percent annually by 2020, and that to satisfy that demand, more than 1,300 new electric powerplants need to be built. Of those new powerplants, 92% are expected to be natural gas-fired. Coal-fired generated electrical plants are expected to account for 6 percent and renewable energy for 2 percent. Natural gas consumption is expected to increase by 52% by 2020. Projected growth in natural gas consumption will require additional pipeline capacity. The greatest increases will be needed along the corridors that provide access to the Canadian, Gulf Coast, and Rocky Mountain producing areas that send the natural gas to the South Atlantic, Northeastern, and Pacific regions. “California’s problems are a warning sign of what will happen in other parts of the country if we do not take action,” said the Chairman. “We must learn from the mistakes in California so they do not spread to the rest of the country.” ###