Energy Myths and Realities

Energy, Environment, Frontier Centre, Publications

Thank you for that introduction. Good morning, everyone. I’m honored to join you today.

I see a lot of faculty in the audience, but I’m going to address my remarks today primarily to you students of this fine school. Thirty-three years ago I was sitting where you are today, trying to decide what to do with my career after graduating with my degree in Electrical Engineering. I made a decision to go to work for an oil company – Chevron – on what turns out to have been a false premise: I was convinced that by the time I reached the age I am today that America and the world would no longer be running on fossil fuels. Chevron was pouring lots of money into alternatives – and they had lots of money and the incentive to find alternatives – and I wanted to be part of the transition.

Fast forward 33 years. Today, you students are being told that by the time you’re my age the world will no longer be running on fossil fuels.

I’m going to try to do something that seems impossible these days – and that’s have an honest conversation about energy policy, global warming and what it means for America’s energy future – and for you, the generation that will have to live with the consequences of the policy choices we make. My goal is to inform you with easily verifiable facts – not hyperbole and propaganda – and to appeal to your common sense. But first a few words about Questar.

Questar Corporation is the largest public shareholder-owned company headquartered in Utah, based on stock-market value, NYSE ticker STR. We’re one of two Utah-based companies in the S&P 500. Most of you know us as the parent company of Questar Gas, the utility that sends you your natural gas bill every month. But outside of Utah and to investors we’re known as one of America’s fastest-growing natural gas producers. We also own a pipeline company. I’m also proud to say that we’re the only Utah-based company ever to make the Business Week magazine annual ranking of the 50 top-performing companies in the S&P 500 – we were #5 in both 2007 and 2008, and we’re #18 in the top 50 in Business Week’s 2009 ranking, just out this week.

At Questar our mission is simple: we find, produce and deliver clean energy that makes modern life possible. We focus on natural gas, and that puts us in the “sweet spot” of America’s energy future and the global warming debate. Natural gas currently provides about one-fourth of America’s energy needs. When you do the math, the inescapable conclusion is that greater use of natural gas will be a consequence of any policy aimed at lowering America’s carbon footprint. You cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50% when you use natural gas instead of coal to generate electricity. You cut carbon emissions by at least 30% and NOx emissions by 90% when you use natural gas instead of gasoline in your car or truck – and here in Utah you save a lot of money – you can fill up your natural gas car at a cost of about 80 cents per gallon equivalent. You also cut carbon emissions by 30-50% when you use natural gas instead of fuel oil or electricity to heat your home.

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