U.S. Natural Gas – Securing Clean and Renewable Energy
Posted September 18, 2019
As the United States’ leading source for electricity generation, natural gas is indispensable to our power grid. And, as a cleaner-burning fuel, it is essential to climate progress, accounting for more than 60% of power-related carbon dioxide emission reductions since 2005, which are at their lowest levels in a generation.
Worldwide energy demand grew last year by 2.3% – the fastest this decade – and natural gas emerged as the fuel of choice, accounting for 45% of the rise in consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. These numbers demonstrate the ongoing importance of abundant American natural gas in meeting the growing global push for sustainable, affordable fuels. Given this, the U.S. natural gas and oil industry is laser-focused on balancing the realities of consumer demand with the risks of a changing climate.
Realistic solutions to real-world challenges require an all-of-the-above energy approach, where U.S. abundance means Americans can access affordable, reliable power – and at the same time drive down greenhouse gas emissions. Our industry is committed to providing energy that supports modern living and fuels the 21st-century economy, which also helps advance climate goals alongside renewables, such as wind and solar.
The relationship between natural gas and renewable energy is a complementary one.
Put simply, natural gas and oil are essential to the growth of renewable energy resources. For as much as renewable consumption has expanded in recent years, wind and solar account for about 8% of U.S. electricity generation. Natural gas fuels rapid ramping up power generation, available even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Natural gas and oil are used in manufacturing solar panels and wind turbine blades.
Additionally, petroleum products and natural gas hydrocarbons play a role in developing the light-weight materials found in lower-emissions vehicles, which complement the air quality improvements of engine-efficiency technologies and renewable energy uptake.
Looking forward, natural gas will continue to thrive alongside renewables as the U.S. and our trading partners increasingly make the switch to cleaner fuels. Combustion of natural gas emits one-half the carbon compared to coal and supports the adoption of zero-carbon energy solutions by balancing alternative resources in the system with readily available, affordable fuel.
Last week, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), in remarks to an industry audience on the role of U.S. natural gas in addressing global challenges, noted:
“We know that if you employ [natural] gas, you actually enable renewables. That is a story to tell, and I think we better tell it.”
When it comes to cleaner energy, natural gas is part and parcel of a comprehensive, cost-effective solution. By working together, stakeholders in the natural gas and oil and renewable industries are developing innovative technologies to support the growth of additional low-carbon resources – because a sustainable energy future requires employing the collective benefits of America’s fuels.
About The Author
Sam Winstel is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. He comes to API from Edelman, where he supported communications marketing strategies for clients across the firm’s energy and federal government practices. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Sam graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina, and he currently resides in Washington, D.C.