This continuing downward trend in greenhouse gas emissions from the natural gas delivery system further shows the essential role Northwest gas utilities play in the region’s clean energy future. The industry has been pro-actively adopting new technologies to reduce the emissions impacts of the gas sector, which compliments the Pacific Northwest’s overall climate policy goals.
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Sometimes being first isn’t good. Such is the case with legislation making Washington the only state to ban natural gas in new homes and commercial buildings.
Thankfully, the legislators ended their session in Olympia and left that bad idea on the table. However, it is destined to come back next year.
The issue is complicated and expensive. Earlier this year, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) unveiled it as part of a package to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It included a phase-out of natural gas for space and water heating by forbidding the use of fossil fuels for heating and hot water in new buildings by 2030.
The City of Seattle recently enacted an energy code that will ban natural gas space and water heating in new commercial and large multi-family buildings starting in March. Washington state lawmakers considered a bill that would ban natural gas in all construction projects starting in 2030. And the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is developing rules as part of Governor Kate Brown’s Cap-and Reduce executive order that could lead to a similar ban on the commercial and residential use of natural gas. California policymakers are also racing in the same direction.
NWGA member company Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has announced their goal and plan to reduce its carbon equivalent emissions to zero and to ultimately go beyond net-zero carbon by working with customers and communities to reduce their carbon impacts as well.
On average, a house fueled by natural gas is responsible for about one-third fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than a comparable all-electric home.
Why? Let’s take a look at what’s called the full fuel cycle, which accounts for how much energy is retained – or lost – from an energy source until its final use in your water heater, oven, or home heating system. With the full fuel cycle in mind, natural gas’s direct use comes out as a winner in the energy efficiency race.
In North America, we rely on natural gas to provide the majority of our space and process heat. It is also safe to assert that, in most cases, the next MegaWatt hour will be generated through the combustion of natural gas. For example, 80% of the heat used for food processing is derived from natural gas.
What is the best path forward to achieve meaningful emissions reductions in the Northwest? Some believe that “electrify everything” is the answer. But the electrification pathway to deep decarbonization carries serious economic and reliability risks, as well as environmental consequences. If you rely on one source for all energy, what happens during outages? What happens during peak cold days in the winter, when demand-response systems and utility-scale power storage systems (i.e. large batteries) cannot sufficiently supplement intermittent production by solar and wind sources?
In today’s blog, we’ll discuss natural demand in the Pacific Northwest.
The overall demand for natural gas in the Pacific Northwest is forecast to grow at nearly the same rate as reported over the last few years: a modest 1.0 percent per year (see forecast demand growth by sector in Table 1). Natural gas as a fuel to generate electricity paces overall expected to increase in regional gas use (see Figure 2), in part due to the retirement of coal generation units in 2021-2022.
In today’s blog, we’re going to focus on the role of natural gas in greenhouse gas emissions in the Pacific Northwest.A better understanding of methane emissions released from natural gas production and delivery systems helps clarify how the proper deployment of natural gas can deliver significant environmental benefits. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.
In today’s blog, we’ll discuss natural gas pricing.
The commodity cost of natural gas has plummeted with the surge in supply over the last decade (see Figure 1 below), saving Northwest consumers across all economic sectors hundreds of millions of dollars. Commodity prices are expected to remain below $4/Dth through 2050 (see Figure 2). High demand, coupled with infrastructure constraints, may periodically cause short-lived regional price volatility.