Defending the Natural Gas Option

January 18, 2023 | Blog

Do you remember the days of integrated least-cost planning?  Don’t you remember the idea of externalities?  The goal back then was to optimize the long-run costs and benefits of both supply-side and demand-side opportunities, with due regard to the operational uncertainties of both dimensions of the market.  This was why behavioral EE and DR were “discounted” and largely considered irrelevant to firm supply needs.  We should have learned a lot from that period … but apparently our memories have grown dim

Today’s rhetoric and grandstanding brushes past all of these realities with bold, broad statements that we are going to ban this and that, all on the hope that we can make that transition.  The worst of these I believe is the categorical banning of natural gas in the supply and demand portfolios.  Banning natural gas in new construction, banning the internal combustion engine in new cars (when existing cars can be converted to run on natural gas), and demonizing the natural gas industry itself … as if it were a bad market player.

Give me a break!  Does anyone remember when our Department of Energy demonized electric water heating only a few years ago?  Our memories are indeed dim.

While long-run goals to decarbonize the grid are noble, the near-term reality in most of the United States will be that incremental electric loads such as EVs and the banning of natural gas in new construction are going to increase carbon dioxide in almost all cases.  Remember that in producing the EV’s battery “brings forward” the current carbon footprint of the batteries such that there in NO net carbon benefit until those cars are driven over 100,000 miles!  Given most people do not use EVs for long trips, that is going to be a 10 year or longer time before they benefit at all. And at that point, it is a 10-year-old car, and we don’t know how long these EV batteries will last.

This is why I have assemble a group of industry professionals to discuss this and is the reason I created the website  If this agenda is of interest to you, please join us for a thought-provoking look at the concept of Beneficial Gasification where we will discuss the transportation portfolio, which rightfully includes both electric and natural gas vehicles.  I have spent a large part of my career in energy portfolio planning and have driven a Tesla Model S for almost a decade.  Commissioner Tim Echols will join us to share his perspective on these issues.  He drives a natural gas-fueled truck.  Tim and I will be joined by Carl Garofalo, Director of Sustainability and Renewable Gas Solutions for Southern Gas who will address the National Accounts perspective and their goal to reduce carbon footprints with renewable natural gas while keeping their cost goals in clear view.

Carl’s perspective will illustrate why banning natural gas in some parts of the country, in commercial kitchens, and for water heating simply makes no sense in the near term.  There are areas where electricity is better … and areas where natural gas is better.  If we are going to use the “Beneficial Electrification” banner, it should be placed alongside the “Beneficial Gasification” one.

We will close our discussion with an open-ended discussion where participants can suggest how we work together to constructively address natural gas as an option.  We hope you will join us in a lively discussion.

January 31st | 2:00 PM Eastern

 Webinar: Keeping the Natural Gas Option         

Learn More and Register 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe and stay up to date