“Why can’t we just…” is often the question energy industry leaders face when dealing with questions about the current state of the energy business. “Why can’t we just build all renewable energy?” or “Why can’t we just switch over to electric vehicles?”
The answer is usually – at least in large part – infrastructure.
Difficult and expensive to build, requiring social and community buy-in and a courageous commitment to a certain view of energy’s future by companies with shareholders to answer to – infrastructure is one of the energy sector’s thorniest issues.
For years the US has wrung its collective hands publicly over aging or misplaced infrastructure, noting the commitments of competing economies like China‘s to building hugely visible infrastructure projects in a fraction of the time it would take any developed economy rife with regulatory frameworks and market pressures. Now those same market pressures – namely the huge price spreads between different kinds of fuel – are driving investment in new infrastructure that often may be invisible to the daily consumer.
While the low-hanging fruit for infrastructure is in rail lines and conversions of coal-fired power plants to natural gas, the impacts of shifting infrastructure potentially go much further. “It is a very big positive for the US to be at the center of the revolution in energy supply,” CME Group Managing Director Blu Putnam says in this video interview with Breaking Energy above the iconic Nymex trading floor in lower Manhattan.
For more on what he means, check back this week for the final installment of our discussion with Blu. To discuss this video, view our Breaking Energy discussion on the topic here. And to watch the first two video interviews, check those out here.