Natural Gas Power Generation: Bridging Fossil Fuels and Renewables

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A new white paper from Mesa Solutions looks at six reasons why natural gas power generation should continue to be a go-to solution, even as companies rush to meet their emission reduction goals and integrate renewables.

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Driven by the current administration’s aggressive plans to combat climate changes, more and more companies are developing plans to reduce or eliminate their reliance on fossil fuels. Utilities, automobile manufacturers and even traditional oil and gas companies are pledging to make changes by as early as 2035. This has led experts to predict a boom for the renewable energy industry. But the paper’s author questions whether this rush to renewables, and the elimination of natural gas power generation in the process, is really better for the environment. “A more holistic look at the impacts suggests [in] some cases and for some uses, it may not be. Renewables obviously eliminate emissions present during fossil fuel combustion but there may be more environmental considerations.”

The paper presents six reasons why natural gas is a key distributed energy resource bridging solution. First, it discusses why methane gases aren’t going away, even with a full transition to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, fuel cells or geothermal energy. According to the author, “Methane is the result of natural processes. Whether they happened yesterday or tens of millions of years ago, those natural processes will continue to produce methane.” The author also presents evidence that shows that methane is less harmful when properly combusted.

“When measured against the reliability, availability and resiliency of natural gas, critical infrastructure customers should consider all environmental aspects when determining how to achieve energy independence or assurance.” — Mesa Solutions, “6 Reasons Why Natural Gas is a Distributed Energy Source Bridging Solution

Another reason for not eliminating natural gas power generation is the immaturity of the renewables energy industry, according to the paper. Specifically, the author discusses the lack of infrastructure in place to “effectively process the waste being generated by solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and wind turbine blades that have reached the end of their useful life.” Mesa also points to the renewable industry’s need for rare earth elements as a reason to maintain natural gas-powered generation. The author looks at the benefits of distributed energy natural gas generation— for example, it doesn’t require a significant amount of space, especially when compared to solar. Another consideration is that natural gas generators are capable of burning biofuels.

Download the full report, “6 Reasons Why Natural Gas is a Distributed Energy Source Bridging Solution” to learn more about how natural gas can be a distributed energy bridging solution between fossil fuels and renewables.

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