American Energy in the Age of the Superstorm

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After Hurricane Sandy, it's become pretty clear that major storms are here to stay, causing billions of dollars in damages and leaving coastlines vulnerable to destruction and power outages. And the old antique that is the American power grid seems powerless against the recurring forces of mother nature. 

The Obama administration is also safely back in the White House, and their interest in slowing the negative effects of climate change could spell a renewed interest in the natural gas industry. 

Jeffrey Leonard is the CEO of the Global Environment Fund, a growth capital-oriented investment firm.

"I think what Sandy taught us," Leonard says, "is the dependence that we all have on electricity today." Though most people think of energy as something that comes out of the ground, we are reliant on an electricity grid that Leonard says has been ignored. "The first step is to pay attention to the electricity infrastructure. Sandy taught us the vulnerability of that infrastructure, as many people even today in New Jersey still don't even have power - electricity - back at their houses."

"While there are management issues, it's a much bigger and more systemic challenge. We've not reinvested in our electricity grid in any substantial way for some thirty to forty years," Leonard says.

"It's like preventive healthcare," Leonard says, "We're going to pay gradually overtime for preventive maintenance and upgrade, or we're going to way for catastrophic failure."

Ironically, there are projections that say that the United States will be the biggest energy producer in the world by 2020 - but with our antiquated grid, it will be difficult to take advantage of. "We may be swimming in energy, but still left in the dark," Leonard says.