Natural Gas

Although natural gas serves a relatively small portion of South Carolina’s energy demand, historically low prices are making it an attractive alternative to investments in new coal and nuclear plants.  The ability of natural gas plants to quickly ramp up and down to meet fluctuating energy demand makes them especially compatible with intermittent renewable resources.

However, some reservation exists among experts related to optimistic estimates of domestic natural gas reserves and the future stability of currently low prices.  In addition to these uncertainties, the extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is under intense scrutiny due to widespread concern about ground and well water contamination, as well as fracking’s apparent potential to generate earthquakes.

Assuming the concerns related to fracking can be addressed, natural gas could represent a low carbon alternative to coal that can be used as a bridge to a clean energy future.

Additional information on natural gas:

USGS reduces reserve estimates

PEW Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

The New York Times Drilling Down series on Natural Gas

Fracking and Earthquakes

Natural Gas Complements Renewable Energy

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