Manufacturing, natural gas offer huge potential for WisconsinThe potential partnership of natural gas and Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry is set to help reduce unemployment, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
By: By Frank Lasee, Superior Telegram
The potential partnership of natural gas and Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry is set to help reduce unemployment, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
What would you say if someone offered you an energy supply that was twice as clean to burn as coal, less controversial than nuclear power, more reliable than wind or solar — especially in the sun capitol of Wisconsin — produced right here in the United States? It has the potential to last for 95 years, and it’s less costly than oil, nuclear, wind and solar?
Natural gas prices are the lowest they have been since 2003, and if you adjust the price of gas for inflation, it’s the lowest it’s been since 2000. That’s a big deal for all of us because that means lower electricity costs and manufacturing companies use a big part of the electricity produced in this country.
There is so much natural gas that it’s projected that electricity made out of it will be less costly than power made at a brand new coal power plant. This adds up to big savings for ratepayers and manufacturers.
Some estimates even say that manufacturers could save $11 billion a year making them more competitive against companies overseas.
Everyone talks about how they want keep jobs from leaving America and some people even want to tax companies that leave the U.S. These people don’t seem to understand the reason companies are leaving in the first place.
The only way to stop outsourcing is to develop ways to make staying in this country lower cost than doing business somewhere else. Thankfully, low cost natural gas will help us do that.
Now, some have estimated natural gas supply is a bit lower than that 95-year figure, and they could be right. Fortunately, pessimistic estimations of oil and gas reserves usually are corrected upward, like in Alaska.
In 1995, the United States Geological Survey thought there was 2.14 trillion cubic feet of gas in Alaska. In 2011, they revised that number to 19 trillion cubic feet — nine times their previous estimate.
According to a report from last December called “Shale Gas: A Renaissance in U.S. Manufacturing,” PriceWaterhouseCoppers (PwC) predicted low cost natural gas will spark an energy-related manufacturing renaissance that has the potential to create one million new American manufacturing jobs by 2025.
Here in Wisconsin, we’re ready to land a big chunk of those manufacturing jobs.
Manufacturing has always been a large part of our economy. In fact, it’s the second largest industry in our state, compared to the sixth largest in the country.
While 11 percent of people are employed in manufacturing in the United States, 16 percent of Wisconsinites working in the private sector are doing some sort of manufacturing.
Whether it’s cheese, lawnmowers or Harleys, we’re an industrious bunch of Packer fans here in Wisconsin, and that’s not going to change any time soon.
I look forward to hearing from you about the issues of concern to you. Feel free to contact me, Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov or (608) 266-3512. If you are planning to be in Madison, please stop by; I look forward to seeing you at the Capitol.
State Sen. Frank Lasee is a Republican from De Pere representing the Green Bay area of Wisconsin.