There is no need to convince anyone that we in the U.S. are gluttons when it comes to the amount of oil we consume. Our consumption of coal fires up to 50% of our electrical power and contributes to the amount of carbon dumped into our atmosphere. But according to one article I read, natural gas is now abundant in the U.S. since we have enough of the gas to power our needs for the next 90 years. Yet the current administration and congress have avoided natural gas and instead is pushing wind and solar power as the savior to our energy woes.
It’s natural gas, the same fossil fuel that was in such short supply a decade ago that it was deemed unreliable. It’s now being uncovered at such a rapid pace that its price is near a seven-year low. Long used to heat half the nation’s homes, it’s becoming the fuel of choice when building new power plants. Someday, it may win wider acceptance as a replacement for gasoline in our cars and trucks.
Natural gas’ abundance and low price come as governments around the world debate how to curtail carbon dioxide and other pollution that contribute to global warming. The likely outcome is a tax on companies that spew excessive greenhouse gases. Utilities and other companies see natural gas as a way to lower emissions — and their costs. Yet politicians aren’t stumping for it.
In June, President Barack Obama lumped natural gas with oil and coal as energy sources the nation must move away from. He touts alternative sources — solar, wind and biofuels derived from corn and other plants. In Congress, the energy debate has focused on finding cleaner coal and saving thousands of mining jobs from West Virginia to Wyoming.
Utilities in the U.S. aren’t waiting for Washington to jump on the gas bandwagon. Looming climate legislation has altered the calculus that they use to determine the cheapest way to deliver power. Coal may still be cheaper, but natural gas emits half as much carbon when burned to generate the same amount electricity.
Plus there is this:
The wells still only capture only about a quarter of the gas locked in the shale formations. Future improvements could double that recovery rate. Bottom line: this new source of gas supply in Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New York and other states holds out the promise of as much as 2,000 trillion cubic feet of supplies. It is estimated that the U.S. sits on 83 percent more recoverable natural gas than was thought in 1990.
“The question now is how does this change the energy discussion in the U.S. and by how much?” says Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and chairman of IHS CERA, an energy consultancy. “This is domestic energy … it’s low carbon, it’s low cost and it’s abundant. When you add it up, it’s revolutionary.”
After reading this article it makes one wonder why we are not pursuing the use of natural gas as a way to cut down on our use of imported oil. I am not sure, but can we not use natural gas in our cars instead of oil?
Please share your knowledge with us and explain why or why not using natural gas is wise or not.
Thanks for reading this post.