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Tags: natural | gas | stand up | time

6 Reasons Why It's Time to Stand Up for Natural Gas

6 Reasons Why It's Time to Stand Up for Natural Gas

By    |   Wednesday, 15 May 2019 12:10 PM EDT

As the ongoing American energy revolution has demonstrated, natural gas has enormous promise here at home and abroad.

  1. It is clean-burning.
  2. It is affordable.
  3. It is domestically produced.
  4. It is contributing to growth in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by solving intermittency challenges and thereby making such growth more feasible.
  5. It is enabling great strides in efforts to reduce air pollution, improving the health of millions.
  6. It is catapulting the United States to be one of the few nations that is making meaningful progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

With a domestic supply so robust that the nation is now the world’s top producer of natural gas, the United States is exporting these societal and environmental achievements to countries around the world and reaping geopolitical, national security, and global trade benefits for our country and allies alike.

Unfortunately, public policies and society at large have not embraced expanded natural gas use as one would have expected given all the positives.  To the contrary, policymakers, the media, and interest groups that once deemed natural gas to be a clean “bridge fuel” are increasingly treated it as a pariah, which in turn is contributing to a growing and mistaken negative perception of this critical source of energy.

Campaigns attacking the use of fossil fuels disregard and drown out discussion of the benefits that natural gas provides, which is creating a dangerous ill-informed view of natural gas with the potential for great harm to consumers.

Consider the following:

  1. Many forecasts that show significant power generation growth are not reflected by reality due to state mandates and policies that exhibit hostility to natural gas;
  2. Certain states are phasing out the use of fossil energy sources in a timeframe that will preclude investment in new natural gas power plants;
  3. State mandates for renewable power purchases are creating false market signals, causing market demand uncertainty, and eroding competition;
  4. Mandated market shares are eroding capacity and making it more expensive to ensure the reliable delivery of electricity;
  5. In many regional energy markets, natural gas power plants are not being fully compensated for the cost of ensuring reliability, jeopardizing the viability of these crucial sources of electricity and putting our entire delivery system at risk; and
  6. Most new power plants are constructed on the assumption that existing pipeline capacity will be adequate to support electricity generation -- if that basic principle no longer holds true due to anti-pipeline efforts, then additional investment in new plants could significantly suffer.  

Public opposition to pipelines and new transmission facilities are further increasing the cost of providing homes and businesses with electricity, extending the amount of time it takes to add new capacity and in many cases precluding the construction of power generation facilities and the pipeline infrastructure necessary to keep those facilities running.  

Further complicating the matter are Federal Energy Regulatory Commission pricing rules that increase the cost of transporting natural gas across pipelines, impacts to master limited partnerships as a preferred vehicle for pipeline investments following recent changes to the federal tax code and in light of fewer project opportunities thanks in part to the anti-natural gas movement, and actions by investment funds to move away from fossil energy investments.

Anti-fossil energy groups are becoming increasingly effective at state public utility commissions in thwarting proposed new gas-fired generation capacity and pipeline capacity.

All of these factors are creating a conundrum. As the use of renewables continues to rise, so too will the need increase for reliable baseload and backup energy sources to address intermittency issues.

To that end, natural gas is the most effective and logical backup energy option. Without the construction of new natural gas power plants and added pipeline capacity to deliver gas to the facilities, U.S. energy consumers will face a rude awakening when power supplies simply are inadequate to meet demand.  

Reliability is the number one issue facing the U.S. electricity grid, yet policymakers are either unable or unwilling to address it and the public doesn’t appear to sense the urgency of the problem.

A big reason why is that the natural gas industry – from producers to pipelines to generators – is not telling this story in a way that resonates. It is a slow-moving train wreck, but one that could still be prevented. If industry steps up to work collectively to provide some truth and common sense, policymakers will have the information needed to make the right decisions, and the public will be positioned to apply the pressure necessary to ensure that they do so.

Jack Belcher is senior vice president of Cornerstone Energy Solutions and advises energy, transportation and financial services clients on government relations, regulatory affairs, risk management, ESG management, coalition building and stakeholder relations. He is also managing director of the National Ocean Policy Coalition.

© 2023 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

Campaigns attacking the use of fossil fuels disregard and drown out discussion of the benefits that natural gas provides, which is creating a dangerous ill-informed view of natural gas with the potential for great harm to consumers.
natural, gas, stand up, time
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 12:10 PM
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