Thursday's Wall Street Journal had an interesting short article, "Pennsylvania's vote for gas hits renewables," by Liam Denning. Here are a few points:
With the economy figuring large in America's swing rightward, Harrisburg's new masters have reason to nurture the Marcellus. A 2010 Pennsylvania State University study estimated Marcellus development added 44,000 jobs last year in a state with 570,000 unemployed. A friendlier Harrisburg lifts a cloud for developers like Range Resources, for whom the Marcellus represents 59% of net asset value according to Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.
Gas emits roughly half the carbon coal does. Solar and wind emit zero. But new gas-fired plants produce electricity at 53% and 21% the cost of onshore wind and photovoltaic solar respectively, according to Energy Department projections. Combine those economics with local political backing, and the result is a big competitive headache for renewables.
Range Resources, it should be noted, made some sizable political donations. Guess who to?