Innovative practices and technology enhancements have unlocked vast reserves of North American natural gas that were previously inaccessible. Scarce and costly just 10 years ago, natural gas is now abundant and inexpensive — a boon for our pocketbooks, the environment, and our way of life.
Natural gas is growing in importance as a fuel for generating electricity. It is essential to the success of renewable electricity like wind and solar because it serves as the required backup energy when it isn’t windy, and the sun isn’t shining — natural gas is a reliable, on-demand resource that’s available regardless of weather conditions.
Because natural gas has overtaken coal as the primary fuel for generating electricity, U.S. carbon emissions from the energy sector are expected to hit a 25-year low, even though the economy has grown substantially. In fact, the U.S. leads the world in absolute reductions in carbon emissions due largely to the increased availability and affordability of natural gas.
Plentiful, inexpensive natural gas has saved consumers here in the Pacific Northwest hundreds of millions of dollars. For example, Washington state homeowners and businesses paid almost $600 million less for natural gas in 2016 than they paid in 2008.
The world will benefit from reduced carbon emissions as developing and industrial countries reduce their dependence on coal and oil by gaining access to ample North American natural gas supplies. It is also used to manufacture thousands of products that we rely on every day, such as synthetic materials like plastics or nylon, pharmaceuticals, and fertilizer.
Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions (40 percent) in Washington state, and diesel pollution is a problem we can address right now. Natural gas-powered vehicles are much cleaner than diesel vehicles and capable of doing the same work. They are a ready-made solution to reduce harmful emissions from the heavy-duty vehicles we need for commerce, commuting, and getting our kids to school. Plus, they can run on renewable natural gas.
Reviewing the facts: Natural gas makes possible the renewable power we care so deeply about. It warms us when it’s chilly out. It’s abundant and affordable with global potential. Natural gas vehicles and renewable natural gas present our region with terrific opportunities. Natural gas is a clean and versatile resource produced right here at home.