The Grand Energy Transition: The Rise of Energy Gases, Sustainable Life and Growth, and the Next Great Economic Expansion
A groundbreaking book on solving our growing energy problems
In this visionary book, leading energy industry executive Robert Hefner puts forth a convincing case about how the world can move beyond its current dependence on oil and toward a new era of clean, renewable energy.
Written with the knowledge and authority of a major player in this industry, Hefner relates how misguided government policies and vested industry interests have contributed to our current energy problems and proposes a variety of measures that could encourage the use of natural gas, solar, wind, and hydrogen.
- Convincingly makes the case that natural gas is the essential bridge fuel to a new era of clean, renewable energy sources
- Details how natural gas can help break our oil and coal dependency
- Offers a sweeping, historic picture of the world energy situation
- Presents a compelling and provocative case that natural gas is key to our short-term energy problems
A well-written and engaging book that mixes personal anecdotes and experiences with insightful analysis, The Grand Energy Transition is a powerful argument about how we can best solve our toughest energy problems.
THE GRAND ENERGY TRANSITION
The Rise of Energy Gases, Sustainable Life and Growth, and the Next Great Economic Expansion
By Robert A. Hefner III
Natural gas is far more abundant than generally appreciated and is the only domestic fuel that can be quickly ramped up to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and coal and significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions, according to THE GRAND ENERGY TRANSITION by Robert A. Hefner III.
Provocative and unique, the book provides a sweeping vision of our energy history, arguing that human energy usage is evolving from solid energy sources (wood, dung, coal) to liquids (oil, gasoline, diesel) to a future of gas-based energy sources (natural gas, wind, solar, hydrogen). Each step reflects a progression from dirty, carbon heavy energy sources to cleaner, carbon light fuels. Ultimately, Hefner argues, we’re progressing to a future epoch of sustainable, virtually limitless, clean gaseous fuels, which he calls the Age of Energy Gases.
Unfortunately, Hefner states, the historical evolution to energy gases has been confounded by government policies which incentivize coal and oil use at the expense of natural gas, thus increasing both our dependence on foreign oil sources and our output of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Hefner argues we need to move in the opposite direction: adopt policies and infrastructure investment which encourage natural gas usage and accelerate the shift to energy gases including wind, solar and hydrogen.
Central to Hefner’s thesis is that the world contains an abundance of natural gas. Natural gas supplies are not related directly to oil supplies, he states, and there is far more natural gas than liquid oil in both America and the world. Hefner also makes the case that America's attainable natural gas reserves are likely as large, or possibly larger, than the U.S.'s remaining minable coal.
An energy insider who has been involved in both the business and political side of the energy business, Hefner recounts how Exxon and other Big Oil companies convinced the government in the 1970s that we were running out of natural gas, a development which led the government to place a prohibition on natural gas use for power generation and industrial usage, its fastest growing markets. History has proven Exxon and Big Oil were dramatically wrong about the size of U.S. natural gas resources.
Hefner argues that we have adequate natural gas supplies to fuel at least half our vehicle fleet for decades to come; to replace aging, inefficient coal power plants; and to fuel new power plants that cannot otherwise be powered by wind, solar, or nuclear. What’s needed to make this happen are policy measures that recognize that we need to move away from coal and oil and embrace an energy future based on cleaner, more abundant fuels.
By accelerating the shift to energy gases in the automotive sector, Hefner estimates, we’ll reduce oil imports by 5 to 6 million barrels a day; create and save hundreds of thousands of jobs; and reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by about 200 million tons a year. Moreover, we’ll significantly enhance our energy security and lessen the chance of global conflict over scarce oil supplies.
A timely and important book, The Grand Energy Transition provides a sweeping overview of our energy history; a vision for our energy future; and practical measures we can take right now to solve our energy problems and stimulate our economy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert A. Hefner III is founder and owner of GHK Exploration (www.ghkco.com), a private natural gas exploration and production firm. He pioneered ultradeep natural gas exploration and production, led the development of innovative technology needed to successfully drill and produce many of the world’s deepest and highest pressure natural gas wells, and was a leader in the industry’s successful efforts to deregulate the price of natural gas. Hefner is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London, a fellow National of the Explorers Club, a member of Singapore’s International Advisory Panel on Energy, and a member of the International Council at the Belfer Center at Harvard University. He is an Advisory Director of the Center for a New American Security. Hefner and his wife, MeLi, initiated and support the Heffner China Fund, which has brought rising young Chinese government officials to study in the fields of energy, culture, and foreign policy at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Hefner holds a petroleum geology degree from the University of Oklahoma.
THE GRAND ENERGY TRANSITION
By Robert A. Hefner III
Wiley; September 2009
$29.95; 978-0-470-52756-6; Hardcover
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