“The Natural Gas Outlook is an important point of reference for energy stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest,” said Ed Brewer, NWGA Board President and Vice President and General Manager of Williams Northwest Pipeline. “These stakeholders are navigating decisions concerning abundant North American natural gas supply options, existing and potential new markets and the infrastructure needed to bring the supply and demand together,” he added.
The 2015 release notes that North America’s robust natural gas supply picture persists and that natural gas is expected to remain a good value throughout the forecast period when compared to other energy sources. Regional demand for natural gas is expected to grow an average of 1.2 percent per year. The use of natural gas to fuel electric generation is the largest driver of demand growth, as the region develops new gas fired generation to serve load growth and more flexible gas fired resources to complement intermittent renewable generation like wind and solar.
The 2015 Outlook also includes two scenarios that explore the potential for accelerated growth in the power generation and industrial sectors. Looming coal plant retirements and manufacturers seeking access to abundant and affordable North American natural gas led to these additions analyzing potential large changes in demand that do not show up in the regular Outlook data set.
“The accelerated demand scenarios in the 2015 Outlook point toward the potential for significant growth in generation, industrial and export loads,” said Dan Kirschner, NWGA Executive Director. Kirschner noted that the current natural gas system operates efficiently and reliably to serve existing loads but that significant growth will amplify and accelerate the need for incremental delivery capacity. “It can take five years or more to permit and build or expand natural gas infrastructure so our members take great care to consider and prepare for future growth.”