The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

America’s Power-Hitting Energy Lineup

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 25, 2016

With the World Series opening in Cleveland, there's much discussion of the lineup cards from the teams’ managers – the Indians’ Terry Francona and the Cubs’ Joe Maddon. Who should start, who should ride the pine, who should hit cleanup? The back and forth is part of what makes the Fall Classic a classic.

Piggy-backing on the start of the Series, we’ve filled out a lineup card of our own – America’s Energy Lineup. It’s a fantastic lineup with contributors at every position – no “Who’s on First, What’s on Second” shenanigans with this group . They’re all major leaguers, a great mix of energy sources that includes reliable veterans as well as exciting up-and-comers, anchored by clutch, big-time producers in the key power spots, Nos. 3 and 4.

Bottom line: When America’s all-of-the-above energy lineup is in the field, we all win.

We lead off with coal, because coal has experience as a leading energy, and it always comes to play. No. 2 is nuclear, because it’s high energy and never needs a break.

infographic coal
infographic nuclear

In the 3-hole is natural gas, America’s budding superstar. Our country’s energy renaissance, built on safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, is producing record volumes of natural gas, which is now our leading fuel for electricity generation.

Natural gas is dependable and affordable. It’s versatile, serving as a fuel and as a building block for lots of products Americans use every day. It’s also cleaner-burning, helping improve our air. Natural gas is the primary reason U.S. energy-sector emissions of carbon dioxide last year fell to their lowest level since 1993noticed by an old White Sox fan, President Obama.

infographic natural gas
infographic oil

In our clean-up position is another superstar, oil. Oil delivers every day. It supplies more than 90 percent of the energy used in the transportation sector, which is critically important in a large country like ours. The fuels produced from oil are portable and dependable. They power American commerce and American freedom – to go from here to there. We’re fortunate: The U.S. energy renaissance has reversed the trend in domestic oil production, from declining in 2007 to more than 9.4 million barrels per day last year, more than any other year except 1970 (9.6 million).

Oil is the American energy equivalent of baseball’s “Mr. October,” a workhorse today that will keep on delivering – provided we adopt policies that ensure access to reserves, particularly in the Arctic and other offshore areas.

At Nos. 5 and 6 we have biomass and hydro, respectively. Both are steady, key energy producers. Biomass, which uses waste organics like wood to produce electricity, reaches the big leagues after some good seasons in Maine, Vermont and other states. Hydro is another veteran, a regional star well known in Washington, Oregon and California.

infographic biomass
infographic hydro

Rounding out our lineup, we have wind at No. 7, solar at No. 8 and geothermal at No. 9. It’s the bottom third of the order, but these are no less important. Think about it: Neither Francona nor Maddon would field a team in the World Series with only five or six players. Likewise, America’s energy lineup is based on valuable contributions up and down the order, from 1-9. Wind and solar are growing. Though they’ve got a ways to go before they’re top-tier performers, both are poised to contribute more – with some help from their buddy, natural gas. Geothermal is the relatively new kid on the block whose best days no doubt lie ahead.

infographic wind
infographic solar
infographic geothermal

In all seriousness, America is an all-of-the-above energy nation, with every energy source playing a valuable role. With the world’s energy needs projected to continue growing, the United States needs them all on the field, working together to keep our economy strong and operating, to provide opportunity and, most importantly, the power we need every day to live the modern lives we enjoy.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.