FC Gas Intelligence: Why is Natural Gas the Key to America’s Power Future?

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A new infographic displaying the survey responses from 150+ industry experts and professionals on Natural Gas Power Generation has just been released. Participants revealed their forecasts for the future of natural gas as power generation fuel, what they see as the major growth benefits for the US and where they think the stumbling blocks lie. This survey helps form the agenda for the upcoming industry meeting: the Natural Gas Power Generation Conference (May 19-20, Chicago).

More and more US utilities and power companies are switching to natural gas for their generation plants, owing to the emissions benefits, low prices, and the abundant national supply. In fact, the shale gas revolution has dramatically altered the nature of US power generation. In 2012, the US generated 30% of its electricity from natural gas, up from 24% in 2010. The EPA estimates this will rise to around 35-40% by 2035; however, according to the newly released infographic, almost half (46%) of the industry’s experts expect gas to account for 50-70% by 2025 – far more than the EPA estimations.

It would appear that the estimations from the EPA may be fairly conservative – after all 63% of planned generation capacity through 2040 is to be natural gas fired. Additionally, there are countless examples of not only new gas-fired construction – such as plants for two new facilities from developers NTE Energy – but increasing reports of power companies switching over and replacing existing coal plants over with natural gas – such as Calpine’s conversion of coal plants in Delaware and New Jersey, acquired from Pepco Holdings in a $1.68 billion deal. A significant concentration of coal plant retirements up to 2022 are planned in the Mid-Atlantic, Ohio River Valley and Southeast US, supporting expectations that natural gas will continue to gain market share in these areas.

But why is this national energy source the natural choice for power generation? According to the infographic, gas plants release just 40-60% of the Carbon Dioxide (CO2), 7% of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and a miniscule 0.2% of the Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) compared to coal plants. This may be why the majority of those asked (34%) believe that lower emissions are the key advantage of natural gas use for US power needs. In the US, emissions reductions represent the most tangible benefit; last year the US energy industry emitted 40% less SO2 and NOx and 23% less CO2 due to the widespread switch to natural gas for power plants. Yet, similar numbers of respondents see US energy independence, reliability of natural gas over renewables and lower prices as the key advantage (25%, 23% and 18% respectively). With the multitude of factors driving natural gas-fired power generation development, and the many different benefits to the US of this growth, utilities, energy developers, gas producers, power plant equipment suppliers and technology developers are vying to ensure their stake in this fast-developing market.

This is why FC Gas Intelligence, have produced this infographic to help form the agenda and set the tone for discussions at the premier meeting place for the gas power generation industry: the Natural Gas Power Generation Conference & Exhibition (May 19-20, Chicago). Take a look at the infographic by clicking here – you can also register for the conference and make sure you are a part of this discussion.

Attend in Chicago to hear from the experts in gas power, regulation and market rules including Calpine, NTE Energy, the EPA, NERC, FERC, and ISOs. Plus be the first to hear about new technology from Energy Exemplar, PowerPHASE and Fairbanks Morse. Companies already confirmed include Minnesota Power, Southern Power, Exelon, Entergy, Bruce Power, Dominion, J-Power Mitsubishi, ABB, Kiewit Power and many more – see the website for more details on speakers, attendees and the full agenda: The Natural Gas Power Generation Conference.

This infographic and the related conference are organized by FC Gas Intelligence. For more information on the event and how to get involved, see the event webpage: http://events.fc-gi.com/PowerUSA or get in touch with the event director, Jessica Allen – Jessica(at)fc-gi(dot)com.

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