Summit News

Kinder: CO2 policy needs natgas, nuclear focus

Richard D. Kinder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP addresses the Reuters Energy Summit in Houston June 2, 2009. REUTERS/Richard Carson

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Rich Kinder, who heads one of the largest pipeline companies, said Tuesday the U.S. energy and climate change debate should focus more on natural gas and nuclear power and less on solar and wind energy.

“To think we’re going to solve this with solar and wind power is ludicrous,” Kinder, chairman and CEO of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, told the Reuters Global Energy Summit.

“If you want to knock this thing,” he said of cutting fossil fuel emissions to slow global warming, “you’d go to more natural gas and you would go to more nuclear. That is far more effective.”

Natural gas emits about half the carbon dioxide of coal. Nuclear plants emit no greenhouse gas. Solar and wind power are clean but contribute one-sixth of 1 percent of total U.S. energy. Just doubling that would cost billions, he said.

Kinder Morgan owns or operates 35,000 miles of gas and oil pipelines and 170 fuel and coal terminals and is building a major gas pipeline from the Rocky Mountains to the East.

The company has no interest in nuclear power, but settling on a design and building lots of nuclear plants quickly - along with burning more gas - would go a long way toward reducing U.S. global-warming emissions, Kinder said.

“I am not opposed to solar and wind. I just think we ought to get the facts straight and ought to be certain about what we really can do,” he said.

Kinder said he wishes President Barack Obama well, but warned that he believes the United States should not emulate the energy policies of former President Jimmy Carter.

“I’m afraid we’re going to have a redux of Jimmy Carterism and go down paths and spend billions of dollars that will be wasted when we could be doing the same thing with much more economic results,” Kinder said.

Reporting by Bruce Nichols; Editing by David Gregorio