Forbes: The summer of natural gas

Staff Reports

As the summer season begins to heat up, analysts agree that natural gas will be heavily leaned upon most to keep the country cool.

Forbes columnist Jude Clemente writes that across the U.S., gas could supply a record 40-43% of U.S. electricity this summer. He writes:

“Indeed, U.S. natural gas for electricity has continued to soar, at nearly 10,700 Bcf last year, a 16% rise from 2017 and easily the highest ever. Gas is expected to supply 37% of U.S. power this year, versus 27% just five years ago. Capacity wise, gas is sure to continue to surge its 45% share of the U.S. power system.”

Clemente points out that more than 60% of electric generating capacity installed in 2018 was fueled by natural gas. Additionally, coal and nuclear plants are retiring, and while growing, wind and solar are too intermittent, geography limited, and transmission short to compensate like natural gas can.

From 2019-2025 alone, EIA expects U.S. coal capacity to plummet nearly 25% to 176,000 MW, with nuclear falling 15% to 83,000 MW. In contrast, new combined cycle gas plants will grow capacity almost 30% to around 310,000 MW.

Clemente continues:

“Our hotter and hotter summers are therefore more and more becoming: ‘summers for natural gas.’ Ultimately, this shows why the anti-pipeline movement is so dangerous.”

Read the full column here.