‘Striking the right balance’ between energy, environment
Enbridge president Al Monaco addresses Illinois manufacturers in Chicago
Energy or the environment?
It’s not about making a choice—it’s about working together to strike the right balance, Enbridge Inc. president and CEO Al Monaco told a gathering of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association on Friday.
“The biggest threat to accomplishing our goals of energy development and environmental protection is the polarized debate we continue to have—and that gets us nowhere,” Mr. Monaco said during an address in Chicago. “The decision we need to make is not which side to be on, but how we can most effectively bring them together.
“We believe that our shared responsibility, as a society, is to strike the right balance—to make a transition to a lower-carbon future while ensuring we meet our collective need for energy.”
Mr. Monaco was the keynote speaker at Friday’s annual IMA lunch before a crowd of about 400 business executives. Guest speakers at the event included Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL).
With global energy consumption expected to grow by at least 30 percent by 2040, reality dictates that fossil fuels will meet the lion’s share of that demand—which, noted Mr. Monaco, creates the potential for a North American global energy competitive advantage through:
- Massive unconventional energy reserves;
- Skills and technology to unlock those reserves; and
- Capital markets and funding to develop those reserves.
At the same time, Enbridge—which owns and operates the world’s longest and most complex crude oil pipeline network—is working to achieve a balance between meeting those energy needs and rising to the expectations of the public, which has legitimate and growing concerns over climate change. Those measures include:
- Investing nearly $5 billion in renewable energy projects that create enough zero-emission energy to power more than 750,000 homes;
- Aiming to double our renewable generating capacity over the next five years;
- Growing our natural gas business as this plentiful, clean-burning fuel replaces higher-carbon alternatives and provides power to complement intermittent renewables; and
- Promoting energy efficiency and conservation through our natural gas utility, Enbridge Gas Distribution.
Enbridge has been part of the Illinois economy and community since 1968. Today, we own and operate 10 crude oil pipelines in the state, as well as our flagship Flanagan Terminal, near Pontiac.
Mr. Monaco made note of Enbridge’s numerous economic and community touchpoints in the Land of Lincoln, including:
- Delivering about 75 percent of Illinois refining demands;
- Our recent completion of the Flanagan South line from Pontiac to Cushing, OK, representing $800 million in investment in Illinois;
- Our major projects in Illinois—Southern Access Extension, Line 78 and Line 61 Upgrade—which will be brought into service this year, and collectively mean $1.4 billion in investment, more than 2,000 construction jobs, and tax revenue for Illinois; and
- Our ongoing post-secondary scholarship program, part of our larger commitment to industry awareness in Illinois and Indiana.
“The dynamics of the North American energy business have changed dramatically over a very short period of time, and Illinois has been at the forefront,” said Mr. Monaco. “As far as we’re concerned, Illinois is the center of the energy universe.”