Natural gas key to America’s energy future

August 16, 2016


By Pat Kornick

Published in the August 15, 2016, Morning Call

A recent Your View by a representative of Food & Water Watch shows some of the group’s illogical agenda.

Despite what the writer might have you believe, it is possible to support both natural gas and renewable energy sources, which work hand-in-hand to provide a diverse mix of reliable American energy.

Energy sources such as wind and solar, however, are intermittent. They cannot provide the clean base-load generation that natural gas offers. The 2015 capacity factors (a percentage of how often an energy source is used or available) for American wind and solar were 33 and 29 percent, respectively. That means 67 and 71 percent of the time these renewable sources were not available to meet the needs of families and businesses. This underscores the need for a diverse electric generation portfolio.

That portfolio is becoming increasingly reliant on natural gas due to its environmental and economic benefits. Natural gas-fired power plants are highly efficient, able to quickly come online and use a fuel that we have in abundance in Pennsylvania. For those concerned about open space, natural gas units use a fraction of the land area that solar arrays and wind farms consume.

The writer also comments that people aren’t taking Pennsylvania’s role as a natural gas leader and Philadelphia’s opportunity to be an energy hub “lying down.” She is correct. They are jumping in excitement; pleased to be saving thousands on their energy bills compared to the late 2000s, and eager to find new career opportunities stemming from having one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves in their backyard.

This Your View was published on July 22; interestingly, the same day the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its draft environmental impact statement for the PennEast Pipeline project. FERC has concluded that most of PennEast’s environmental impacts “would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of PennEast’s proposed mitigation and the additional recommendations in the draft EIS.”

With respect to air quality, FERC found that the project would not result in significant air quality impacts. FERC also states “there is also the potential that the Project would contribute to a cumulative improvement in regional air quality if a portion of the natural gas associated with the Project displaces the use of other more polluting fossil fuels.”

Pennsylvania natural gas, delivered by the PennEast Pipeline, is a key component of the region’s clean energy revolution. PennEast looks forward to delivering a local fuel to local communities, helping to make the region and the country more energy secure.