2011 Year in Review
Recall: Bright economy, dark places
Published: December 28, 2011
If high-stakes cyber security's not your bag, there's always energy security. In June, Mayor Julián Castro and CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby held an over-the-top press conference to announce SA's plans to lead the "new energy economy" with solar farms and smart grids. Will it be enough to put a dent in the international market forces driving SA's carbon-based economy? Refiner Valero, owner of SA's favorite corner store, lobbied for a 20 percent stake in the Keystone XL pipeline and spent millions opposing California's clean air laws. Foreign investors pumped billions more into producing oil and gas from the Eagle Ford. A Japanese firm invested $680 million in South Texas' shale play to secure natural gas for "thermal" power plants as most of Japan's nukes are not operating in the wake of the March 11 radiation disaster at Fukushima. The Eagle Ford is the real deal with significant trickle-down: Local workers benefit from well-paid, blue-collar jobs. But, as the Current forecast at the start of the year, the economic activity is putting serious pressure on water resources — and tectonic stability. And when it comes to greenhouse-gas emissions at least one report this year suggested natural gas is not nearly as clean as we thought it was. Whatever. It's a job. You can wrestle with the moral issues of SA employment after you've taken the kids out for those Retro 11 Concord sneakers.