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Two Strategic Energy Pivots




Government R&D misses the energy future. Writes Mark Mills: “In energy domains, the only significant disruption to the status quo in the past 40 years—despite hundreds of billions of dollars spent on alternatives to hydrocarbons—has been the unplanned, unsubsidized emergence of U.S. shale technology. In the past decade, shale oil and gas supplied America with 2,000% more energy than did solar and wind. Congress and the administration should refocus near-term federal energy R&D onto basic shale geosciences. Less than 10% of the DOE’s energy budget is associated with hydrocarbons, which supply over 80% of U.S. and global energy and will do so for decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And while America’s shale industry spends billions of dollars to develop technologies, very little of this is in basic sciences. Better science can lead to better technologies with the capability to increase U.S. oil and gas production at ever-lower costs. Then, to secure America’s long-run energy advantage in the pursuit of non-hydrocarbon alternatives comparable in scale and cost to shale hydrocarbons, Congress and the administration should refocus the overall federal R&D budget more heavily onto the basic sciences.”

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