Fundamentals of Shale Energy Development: Geology, Hydraulic Fracturing, and Environmental, Geopolitical and Socio-economic Impacts

Lesson 11: Downstream Energy Considerations: Utilization and Economic Impacts

Lesson 11: Downstream Energy Considerations: Utilization and Economic Impacts


Energy development is big business. Oil and gas companies, electric utilities and wind and solar power developers have been pouring many billions of dollars into energy infrastructure. States often act like they are competing with one another to lure energy-related companies to operate within their boundaries versus going to another state. Politicians of all stripes point towards the economic benefits of harvesting energy resources, whether those resources come from below the earth’s surface (oil and gas) or from the sun and sky.

Virtually all energy development, whether fossil or renewable, involves heavy industry. There will be economic benefits and economic costs to any particular project. In this portion of the course, we’ll discuss some of these benefits and costs, and discuss in particular where claims of “job creation” come from, how to decode some of those claims, and some of the great myths of the economic development potential in the energy sector.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Identify the main economic impacts of shale development
  • Realize the magnitude of jobs that can be created for large-scale energy development
  • Recognize how energy prices can affect consumers and manufacturing
  • Discuss the primary utilization of shale energy resources
  • Compare the externalities of different energy sources
  • Understand the context of the “multiplier” for economic impacts

Lesson Roadmap

Lesson 11 Roadmap
To Read
To Do
  • Lesson 11 Homework