Joe Biden won’t ban fracking in the short term, but in the long run his environmental policies will achieve a similar result, including eradicating the use of the drilling method while destroying America’s energy sector. In short, not only is Joe Biden lying, he’ll try to finish the job his former boss, Barack Obama, started and environmentalists are all for it.
Biden wouldn’t ban fracking, but his clean grid would phase out natural gas
October 19, 2020, Bloomberg News
During a town hall meeting Thursday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden again assured shale producers that he wouldn’t ban fracking if elected. Then, in virtually the same breath, he touted his $2 trillion clean-energy plan, which aims to edge natural gas out of the power mix within 15 years.
The former vice president’s efforts to walk a tightrope on gas reflect the fossil fuel’s precarious place in the economy. For now, it’s an essential part of American life. Biden has been careful not to make an enemy of the industry, especially in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, home to the largest U.S. shale-gas field. His policies might even, in the short-term, support the gas market.
But in the long run, the fuel might prove economically and environmentally untenable within the power sector, a key market for producers. Biden’s climate plan would accelerate that outcome, with massive investments in wind, solar and battery storage giving those energy sources a leg up. And his goal of a carbon-neutral grid would severely curb, if not destroy, gas’s share of the pie in favor of cheaper, cleaner renewables.
“Decarbonization isn’t a debate—it’s a fossil-fuel death sentence,” said Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners. “It means a resource is going off the grid. That is the inevitable implication.”
Gas, like coal a decade ago, is facing economic headwinds. While it’s still the nation’s dominant fuel source, it’s less competitive against renewables than it used to be. Solar and wind are now cheaper than gas-fired power in two-thirds of the world, according to BloombergNEF. In the U.S., top wind projects already produce electricity for less than natural gas and, by 2030, renewables are expected be cheaper on average than the fossil fuel, BNEF said in an April report.
The right combination of federal policies could easily push gas out of the power mix by 2035.
“This transition is going to happen more quickly than people thought, just as the coal transition has happened faster than people thought it would,” said John Coequyt, climate policy director at the Sierra Club.