Use oil and gas for plastics, not electricity

Here’s a thought: let’s stop dumping fossil-fuels into power grids, and instead pump oil and gas into industries that need it to make goods like plastics and fertilizers. It’s not our thought, but the stance of Ignacio Sánchez Galán, executive chairman of Spain's Iberdrola, a leading electric company globally, and the world’s largest renewable energy operator.

As Galán told the Financial Times:

“Can we live in the future without things like fertilisers, plastics and certain types of polymers?” he said in an interview with the Financial Times. “How is urea going to be produced and most industrial goods going to be produced without oil? We do not currently have alternatives for these products. However, we do have alternatives for energy production.” His remarks add a new element to the debate about high oil prices and their impact on the economy and companies. Industries such as chemicals, plastics and tyre-making use large amounts of oil in manufacturing processes.


Mr Galán said he was also concerned about oil reserves, which he described as “scarce and getting scarcer”. He said: “Do we want to be responsible for burning out in our generation, or this century, resources created over millions of years?” He underlined the increasing attractiveness of wind and solar energy, adding: “We must do everything possible to reduce dependence on oil, regardless of the cost.”

It’s just the kind of sentiment we like hear from an electric company head honcho.

Iberdrola’s based on the other side of the pond, but expect to hear more about the company over here. Last month the company committed to investing $8 billion in renewables in the US over the next two years. The plan is to more than double Iberdrola’s wind power capacity in the states, where it already has some 2,400 MW of power.

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