Energy expert to speak on national policy

Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Juneau World Affairs Council will host a presentation, "What U.S. Energy Policy Should Be," by Robert Ebel, head of the Energy and National Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., at 5:30 p.m. today at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

"I've been asked to talk about what makes for a good energy policy for the U.S.," Ebel said.

Ebel, who has been with CSIS for 15 years, has held leadership positions in the CIA, Interior and Energy departments, as well as directed ENSERCH Corp. and the Washington Export Council. According to the Juneau World Affairs Council, Ebel is an expert on energy and energy policy and can speak on the world oil supplies, oil prices, OPEC, energy security, imports, renewable energy and world energy supplies.

Ebel said he is working on a report in Washington, D.C., on the geopolitics of energy.

"It's an updated report that we did seven, eight years ago," Ebel said. According to Ebel, one of the two government chairmen of the original three-volume report was former Alaska Sen. Frank Murkowski, who held a press conference with Ebel on the report in February 2001. "It's gone over very well; so it's time to update it," Ebel said.

Ebel said his presentation today will explore what citizens would like to see in a national energy policy, "if all their wishes could be granted."

"If I would stop somebody on the street and say, 'If you were in charge, and you were asked to put together a good energy policy for the U.S.,' the first thing would be cheap gasoline, with no questions of availability. And cheap electricity, with questions of availability," Ebel said. "If I wanted to leave my lights on in the house all day long, I could. If I wanted the house to be cool in the summer, I could. It's always a question of price and availability."

But Ebel understands that cheap fuel and power do not come easily.

"And this individual would probably say, 'Well, we should no longer be dependent on foreign oil - cut off all of our imports, be energy independent. That's one of the things the politicians say these days," Ebel added. "But it's not doable. Most of the things that people would want in an energy policy are just fantasies. We can't get there. ... We'd like to be able to drill in the North Slope or offshore of Florida, but that's not going to happen; so we have to adjust ourselves to what's going on not necessarily in the United States, but in the outside world."

Ebel said international contacts are what determine what we pay for oil - "developments outside the United States," he said.

For more information on Ebel's presentation, call Leslie Longenbaugh, of the Juneau World Affairs Council, at 321-3402.

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