Posted May 19, 2016
It’s a fundamental question before most, if not all, of the 2.83 million graduates (associate’s and bachelor’s) in the college Class of 2016: What do you want to be?
More to the point: Where do your interests lie, how might what you learned in college be applied and where might career opportunity be found?
Think energy. Here’s why: The U.S. – and the world – will always need energy.
Posted May 12, 2016
As an Army captain serving in France during World War I, future President Harry S Truman depended on horses to keep him and the soldiers in his field artillery battery moving. He probably didn’t realize it at the time, but the era of horse-powered combat was nearing its end after thousands of years. Modern navies, aircraft, mechanized transports and armored tanks – all powered by petroleum products – were on the scene to change the nature of the armed forces of the world forever.
Today, a century later, the U.S. military is the most technologically advanced and successful in the world. Well-trained men and women are the core of the military’s ability to defend the nation, but they couldn’t do it without modern equipment – powered by modern energy.
Posted May 5, 2016
According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers will spend $2.4 billion on Mother’s Day flowers this year. Of Mother’s Day shoppers, more than 66 percent will give flowers to a mom or stepmom, wife, daughter, sister, grandmother and others.
Facilitating this Mother’s Day activity? Energy.
Posted April 29, 2016
Energy is in just about everything we use and in nearly everything we do. Energy for the chemicals and component parts. Energy in manufacturing processes. Energy for mobility. Yet, because everyone is busy, there’s not a whole lot of time to reflect, and much gets taken for granted. That book you read – energy. The medical technology that keeps you healthy – energy. A night at a ballgame – energy. And more.
In our 2016 look at the energy that supports and powers modern living, the goal is to get more folks to pause and wonder: “Where did that come from?” And: “What makes that go?” In virtually every instance the answer is energy – oil, natural gas and things made from them.
We depend on oil and gas because there’s nothing like them for energy content, portability and adaptability. They’re in chemicals and products all around us: plastics, clothing, medicines and more. Leave them in the ground? Only if you think you’d enjoy a world that’s colder, harsher and less healthy, a world that’s smaller because travel is greatly restricted – one in which millions are relegated to poverty, with near-zero opportunity to change their lives’ trajectory.
Today let’s focus on one of the basic necessities of life: shelter. According to Habitat for Humanity, 1.6 billion people worldwide live in substandard housing and 100 million are homeless. So, that roof over your head – what did it take to build that? First, some home-building basics.
Posted April 22, 2016
Modern wastewater treatment facilities are the first responders in the transformation of used water – from urban and suburban runoff, agriculture and the daily needs of every man, woman and child – into water that’s usable again.
Enter energy. No one should be surprised that the process of wastewater treatment takes lots of energy. The Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant that serves the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and Northern Virginia, the third-largest plant of its kind in the world, is the largest single-source consumer of electricity in D.C. As we’ve noted throughout this series, electricity generation is increasingly being fueled by clean-burning natural gas. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects that this year, for the first time ever, natural gas will be the United States’ leading energy source for power generation. Bottom line: Energy is fundamental to clean water for all.
Posted April 14, 2016
Sneezing is essential to good health – and so are modern pharmaceuticals. Whether your problem is an allergy, a head cold or something more serious, modern medicines help make life healthier, more comfortable and better. Energy is there, too, with chemicals derived from petroleum serving as the building blocks for Aspirin, antibiotics and other helpful stuff. And, of course, energy is integral to the manufacture of pharmaceuticals – for equipment, plant operations and delivery systems.
The flu season has passed, but spring means the onset of allergy season, with budding trees, blooming flowers and birds coming home from southern winter vacations. Over-the-counter and prescription medications make springtime more pleasant for millions of allergy sufferers. Americans spend almost $15 billion a year on allergy medicines. The active ingredients may vary, but all allergy drugs and other pharmaceuticals that improve our health and quality of life depend on energy.
Posted April 8, 2016
Like nearly every other facet of American life, baseball runs on energy. Not the stuff that keeps Bryce Harper’s motor running. Energy that illuminates stadiums, runs concessions and delivers fans and players to the ballparks. Playing its role in the energy mix for our National Pastime – oil and natural gas.
Posted March 31, 2016
Spring is upon us, and for many people with children in school and spring breaks looming, that means family vacation time – for millions of Americans, the Family Road Trip.
I have a number of great memories of family road trips from when I was a kid – some in conjunction with the moves that dotted my dad’s military career: Miles and miles on ribbons of highways – seemingly endless because dad (like just about everyone else’s dad) wouldn’t stop unless the station wagon was practically out of gas; skirmishing with my brother over the backseat; end-of-the-travel-day plunges in the cement ponds at motels in highway way-stops like Gallup, N.M., and Kingman, Ariz.
The destinations varied. We were nomads, cycling every few years from post to post (note: the Army has “posts,” the junior services have “bases”). But we also took vacation trips, visiting grandparents in California and Oklahoma and seeing neat stuff: Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon, the Pacific Ocean, Gettysburg – even the concrete dinosaur park overlooking Rapid City, S.D.!
Posted March 24, 2016
Yeah, the NCAA’s annual men’s basketball tournament’s sure got some juice. But it also takes some juice – energy. Whether you’re a perennial powerhouse or a No. 15 seed springing the upset, it takes a lot of energy to pull off “March Madness.” Without energy, there’s no Big Dance. Without energy, Cinderella never shows up.
From the lights and hot water to the uniforms and television broadcasts, energy is what makes “March Madness,” well – a slam dunk. And all of it falls into what I will describe as the oil and natural gas “Final Four” bracket: arenas, transportation, materials and broadcasting.
Posted March 17, 2016