Energy Strategy, Technology, and Current Issues in the Oil Industry
Energy Overview / Current Issues in Energy

Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.


Issue:
“Green” energy must combine with oil and gas.

 
Trying to reduce carbon emissions, and finding ways to bring together alternative energy in oil and gas operations (solar-powered monitors, for example), are costly, complex, and filled with regulatory pitfalls. Nevertheless, green options are often viewed as worth pursuing if they help reduce the impact on the environment and if they help individuals recycle and reuse energy resources.
 
Companies are utilizing solar panels on oil and gas leases, and are using wind turbines to generate electricity for oil and gas operations. Further, geothermal energy is often harnessed to also generate electricity, or to provide other sources of energy.
 
It can be argued that the best approach to using alternative energy is to combine it with traditional energy so that there are more favorable economics.  Further, with solar or wind power, it’s often possible to provide electricity without having to be on the grid.
 
A good example would be solar-powered pump jacks for stripper wells. The DOE funded an effort to use a solar-powered standard 160D pump jack on a producing well. It was by all accounts fairly successful, and points to future possibilities.

Readings:
 
Solar-Powered Pump Jack for Stripper Wells
http://www.energy.psu.edu/swc/sites/default/files/files/membersonly/2009/Final/3985-RAMI_2009_Final.pdf

Green Energy / Renewable Energy
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/renewableenergy
 
Guiding Questions:
 
What is “green” energy?
 
What are some of the advantages of using solar panels and small wind turbines in conjunction with oil and gas operations?