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Natural gas utilities should play a vital role in driving the U.S. economy toward the country’s collective goal of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Climate change is a defining challenge globally, and natural gas, natural gas utilities, and the delivery infrastructure are essential to meeting the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

The American Gas Association (AGA) engaged ICF, a global consultancy, to conduct the first comprehensive analysis exploring natural gas utility pathways to achieve net-zero emissions. The report is called Net-Zero Emissions Opportunities for Gas Utilities. The Executive Summary is available here. Want to learn more, join the webinar on Thursday, March 17 at Noon, Pacific Time, by clicking here.

By including natural gas, advanced fuels, and our world-class infrastructure, the natural gas industry can expand our opportunities to slash emissions, unleash greater innovation, and enhance energy reliability. Net-Zero Emissions Opportunities for Gas Utilities presents a national-level approach that leverages the unique advantages of gas technologies and

distribution infrastructure. The study underscores the range of scenarios and technology opportunities available as the nation, regions, states, and communities develop and implement ambitious emissions reductions plans.

Key findings in the study include:

  • Pathways that utilize natural gas and its vast infrastructure offer opportunities to incorporate renewable and low-carbon gases, help minimize customer impacts, maintain high reliability, improve overall energy system resilience, and accelerate emissions reductions.

  • The ability of natural gas infrastructure to store and transport large amounts of energy to meet seasonal and peak day energy use represents an important and valuable resource to consider when building pathways to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goals.

  • Continued utilization of natural gas and the vast utility delivery infrastructure can increase the likelihood of successfully reaching net-zero targets while minimizing customer impacts.

  • The U.S. can achieve significant emissions reductions by accelerating the use of tools available today, including high-efficiency natural gas applications, renewable gases, methane reduction technologies, and enhanced energy efficiency initiatives.

  • Large amounts of renewable and low-carbon electricity and gases, and negative emissions technologies, will be required to meet an economy-wide 2050 net-zero target.

  • Supportive policies and regulatory approaches will be essential for natural gas utilities to achieve net-zero emissions.

“Policymakers at every level continue to wrestle with the questions of how we get to net-zero emissions, yet the natural gas industry is advancing practical solutions and making investments that are enabling our country’s energy and environmental goals today and into the future,” said Kim Greene, AGA Chair (Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Southern Company Gas). “This study demonstrates how natural gas and gas infrastructure are not only valuable but essential for building pathways to achieve our ambitious environmental goals. The most practical, realistic way to achieve a sustainable future where energy is clean, as well as safe, reliable, and affordable, is to ensure it includes natural gas and the infrastructure that transports it.”

“Americans want affordable, reliable energy and a clean environment, and this industry will be essential to meeting and exceeding those expectations,” said Karen Harbert, AGA President and CEO. “We are delivering cleaner energy every day and ensuring customers have affordable energy they can rely on, especially when storms hit, and temperatures drop. These are the tenets on which this industry was built, and no matter the day, we will continue to drive to do more.”

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