Recently, a new pipeline started pumping fracked natural gas from the Marcellus Shale to Manhattan. It's a critical reminder of the importance of infrastructure in determining our energy future -- and of how lopsided our infrastructure policy is.
Burdensome regulations governing infrastructure are hampering renewable energy expansion, while natural gas is facing no such obstacles. If renewable energy is going to make up any significant portion of our nation’s electricity needs, we need to change our energy infrastructure regulations. And the time to make those changes is now.
Coal-fired power plants are retiring, leaving a demand for new electricity generation. The two most likely power sources to fill that void are renewable energy and natural gas. But right now, the competition between these two sources is not happening on a level playing field.
Building out infrastructure is critical to the growth of both of these power generation sources. But it takes a lot longer to put up transmission lines, which link remote wind and solar farms to population centers, than it does to build natural gas pipelines. And therein lies the problem.