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Deal with today to prepare for tomorrow

This week we attended a conference at Virginia Beach. After a run on the boardwalk I walked down to the beach. There was a woman, probably about 20 years old, walking on a tight rope that was set up 2 feet above the sand. I watched her walk almost the entire way across, about 40 feet, until she couldn’t quite hold her balance and fell off, landing in the sand.

Her coach talked to her for a few moments. Then she got back up on the tight rope again. It was a great way to train someone in safe conditions until they are ready to move the wire higher. They dealt with the present by taking care of what they could do today safely.

Had they started with a wire 10 feet in the air, the young lady likely would have been injured when she fell to the sand. The coach started with what he felt she could do today to build her confidence.

Fifteen years ago, when my daughter was trying to convince me that I could run a half marathon, my first long training run was 3 miles. We both knew I could run that. It took three months of training to gradually increase my distance to 13.1 miles. We focused on taking care of doing what needed to be done each day.

In business whether it is sales, management, leadership or any other skill, the secret to developing is in what we do every day. A successful sales person acquires their skills over a period of years filled with training, hard work, disappointments and failed sales calls. They don’t get better in a day. They get better day by day.

Weather forecasters are predicting more weather extremes due to climate change. If these folks are right it creates a challenge. The solution commonly heard to climate change is to go to zero carbon by eliminating fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the weather-dependent energy sources proposed to replace fossil fuels don’t work well in weather extremes when more power is needed 24/7 for heating or cooling. Night always happens, shutting off solar energy, and the wind doesn’t blow consistently, as England is finding out. Many coal plants in Europe were shut down, forcing dependence on natural gas-powered electricity. Increased power demand for electricity is increasing demand for natural gas and helping to drive up prices. Europe is seeing record high natural gas prices and it isn’t cold yet. Imagine what would happen if electric vehicles were added to the mix. In a blackout, transportation also would be shut down.

Shutting down coal plants in Europe is coming back to haunt them. California shut down some nuclear power and added more weather-dependent power instead of natural gas. The result was rolling blackouts. When power goes off people on medical equipment can die. Vulnerable people can die from heat in the summer or freeze to death in the winter. Without refrigeration food spoils and medicines like insulin go bad.

Shutting down dependable fossil fuel power and replacing it with weather-dependent power is like raising the tight rope for the young lady learning to walk on it and not putting a safety net underneath. We need to deal with today first and make sure people have dependable energy in weather extremes.

Speaking for my family, we want dependable, affordable energy from multiple sources. My house is all electric because we don’t have natural gas available in our neighborhood. If it was available, I would have a natural gas generator, like many of my friends do, that turns on immediately when the power fails. My winter power failure backup is a wood burning fireplace for heat, batteries and candles for light and a propane grill for cooking. My car runs on gasoline. As a last resort we can drive to stay with family or friends.

A backup plan is always important. For the states declaring to be carbon free by 2050 I have yet to hear what the back-up plan is for 100% weather-dependent energy. Windmills and solar panels are petrochemical products. What is the plan for manufacturing these products?

If weather extremes are going to be a reality until China and other Asian nations begin to reduce their emissions, what can we do today to make sure people have power 24/7? People should always come first. We must make sure we have dependable baseload power to handle weather extremes.

To avoid being like California or Europe we need to think like the tight rope people. Before we raise the wire, we need to have a safety net for everyone. We need to deal with the reality we are faced with today, and that is we need fossil fuels or nuclear power as a backup for weather-dependent energy. Natural gas works best as a backup because it can be put online in minutes.

Learning to walk a tight rope, losing weight, training to run a half marathon, becoming a great sales person or a leader takes time and requires us to take actions daily. Moving to a cleaner, lower emission environment won’t happen in a day. It requires action, teamwork and creative solutions people can afford. There are always multiple ways to solve a problem. We need leaders to take us there, not commanders who don’t care what the cost is or the impacts on people. We can have affordable, dependable electricity and a clean environment. All things are possible.

Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com, is the director of marketing and sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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