Wednesday AM March 25th, 2009

The president says no single issue is as fundamental to our future as energy. The Greater Houston Partnership looked at energy security at a day-long discussion, as Ed Mayberry reports.
image of Houston wind

Energy experts led discussions on the path to energy independence, looking at technology's role and the mix of alternatives that could help.  The forum at the George R. Brown Convention Center featured the former Deputy Secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration — Houston's Mayor Bill White.

"There is no time where this nation has some more serious choices to make and a greater public will to make choices in the right direction on energy policy."

Mayor White says a reality-based energy policy will have certain characteristics, starting with defining objectives.

"You know, security — energy security — really means that there's not excessive risk associated with price volatility or supply interruption."

Former Shell President John Hofmeister spoke in a panel on public policy implications and solutions.

"If we do not invest as a nation in incentivizing our U.S. companies to invest in more domestic natural resources and more domestic energy production, then I think we're hurting ourselves, and I think over the next four to eight years, or ten or 20 years, we will pay a price for penalizing a company that's been successful."

Hofmeister says tax subsidies in the oil and gas industry should fluctuate with oil prices.

"At $40, you've got a lot of projects that are underwater.  In other words, they're not making money and they're not returning investment.  It's painful because of the complexity of projects, their deeper drilling, much more expensive technology, higher costs for steel, valves, et cetera."  

John Hofmeister now heads the Citizens for Affordable Energy, a non-profit public policy education firm. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...