Posted on September 28, 2012 by Mike Means

State Energy Secretary Michael

State Secretary of Energy Michael Ming was good enough to open this week's Oklahoma Green BuildingSummit and talk about the Oklahoma First Energy Plan, introduced by Gov. Fallin last year. Here is a link to his full presentation

Bottom line: Oklahoma has an aggressive plan to position us well for the future.

Here are some of the fast, background facts:


* Last year was the highest year ever for natural gas production, and January of this year was thesingle highest month for gas production. This is driven by horizontal shale drilling and infrastructuredevelopment. As a result, gas prices have come down and are volatile. In Oklahoma, one-third of oureconomy comes from the energy industry and 80 percent of Oklahoma's production comes from naturalgas. Companies need to figure out the next step in dealing with the low prices.

"With prices where they are today, we need to know how to leverage that (for success)," such asproviding mechanisms for a utility, for example, to buy gas now with long-term contracts in place.

* Oklahoma ranks 8th in the nation in energy production. Ten states power the nation's economy, andtwo dominate -- Wyoming and Texas. Approximately 2.5 percent of the nation's energy production isfrom Oklahoma.

* Ming predicts that, in North America, we will be oil-independent by 2020, due to the phenomenalsuccess story in natural gas production. Oklahoma exports two-thirds of the natural gas produced. Wealmost produce as much oil as we consume.

* Natural gas is super clean. It's reliable, affordable and right here at home. It provides a $300 billioneconomic stimulus in the country. The state's Oklahoma First Energy Plan includes increasing marketopportunities for compressed natural gas through state-led efforts to transition fleets to run on CNG.Then, states as one force would lobby auto manufacturers to produce CNG-powered vehicles, withthose states providing a demand for the product.


"If we don't want the federal government to take over regulation of what we do, we have to make sure(environmental) enforcement is in good shape," he said.

Some of the more interesting points of the plan key on maintaining this environmental balance. Forexample, fracking wells takes a great deal of water. Recently passed mandates by the CorporationCommission require companies to store the fracked water and use it again.

Legislation passed last session requires all state buildings to improve their energy efficiency by 20percent by 2020, which means savings of $300-$500 to the state. Secretary Ming encouraged EnergyStar certification as a benchmark standard for state facilities.

Concerning energy-efficient tax credits, he said "we will continue to work hard to put them in place,"preserving tax incentives for energy efficiency in new construction in order to assist the elderly andlow-to-moderate income families. Also, the state will promote disclosure of building energy costs andperformance when selling buildings or renting multifamily dwellings, and encourage pricing efficiencyinvestments into appraised values.

He mentioned the promotion of Smart (trademark) meters, where individuals can manage their ownpeak use. For example, you could buy electricity between 2 and 7 p.m. and pay 24 cents/kWh, and offcycle rates would be cheaper, and yet, in critical times, such as when it's very cold, you could pay 40-45cents/kWh, for example.

He said 3,000 megawatts of wind energy was produced in 2010, with a goal in the state plan to have 15percent of the state's energy production to be from renewal resources by 2015. By the end of this year,he believes the state will be at 17 percent, far surpassing that goal.

More than 60 percent of the fuel Americans use is wasted, through transport, electric power, resident/commercial use and industrial use.

It's time to be smarter about what we do and how we use our resources.

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