Natural gas could soon become the largest source of energy in the U.S. according to new data released in the 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook—a report produced for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Natural gas is now within striking distance of being the largest source of US power, producing just over 32% of US generation in 2015,” notes the report. Furthermore, surging well capacity in areas like the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations resulted in 2015 becoming a record-setting year for U.S. natural gas production.
Echoing the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook was a separate report released earlier this week by the Federal Regulatory Energy. Notably, it highlighted that natural gas accounted for 5,942 megawatts of newly installed electricity generating capacity. In comparison, only 3 megawatts worth of coal-fired power were added during the same time period.
This unprecedented growth in natural gas power generation makes the expansion of critical pipeline infrastructure increasingly more urgent. A majority of the existing pipeline infrastructure in our region was not designed to accommodate domestic natural gas production, but instead tied to older crude oil markets such as the Gulf of Mexico. Investing in the appropriate infrastructure now will ensure that our power plants have reliable access to clean-burning natural gas for decades to come.