Natural gas and renewable energy:
the up-and-coming power couple

ENERGY FILLED STORY

LNG and renewables,
a natural fit

It’s 105oF outside, and the air conditioning in your house is blowing at full blast. With fans also on in every room, you’re finally starting to feel comfortable. Suddenly, the power goes out, and everything shuts off. You wait. It flickers back on – and then off. And on. And off. What’s going on? 

If your house is powered solely by solar panels, the culprit could be as seemingly innocent as those clouds passing overhead – sometimes, that’s all it takes to shut off the flow of power.  In an ideal world, we’d all have energy from sustainable sources available 24/7. And that day will come. But right now, those solar panels and wind farms can’t provide the constant supply our utility infrastructure needs to sustain the nonstop flow of power to our homes and businesses.  Researchers are working to create batteries and other storage solutions that are large enough and affordable enough to harness renewable energy production to meet peak energy demand for the proverbial rainy day.  Even if that innovation were available today, though, implementation could take years.

So, when the sun stops shining on those solar panels, or the wind stops spinning the turbines, what do you do?

The surprising solution to bolstering the foundation of renewable energy just might be found in natural gas. This tried-and-true energy option could be the key to our renewable energy future, serving not just as a viable backup to solar and wind power, but also as a powerful catalyst to their widespread adoption. Check out these five facts you might not know about natural gas in the renewable energy space:

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It’s a cleaner fuel than alternatives such as coal.  In fact, at 117 pounds/BTU, natural gas produces only about half of the CO2 emissions of anthracite coal, which emits nearly 230 pounds/BTU.1  

It’s reliable, flexible, and already integrated with utility operations, paving the way for technologies to help meet the growing demand for inherently intermittent sustainable energy sources.

It’s complementary to sustainable sources. A study by the Foundation for Renewable Energy and Environment indicates that the use of natural gas is beneficial to the development of solar energy.2

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It’s promoting the growth of renewable energy. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, every 1% increase in fast-reacting natural gas generation correlates with a 0.88% increase in renewable power generation.3

It’s already working. The world’s largest solar plant, the 392-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert in the southwestern United States, depends on natural gas for its daily operations.

As technology continues to evolve, natural gas and renewable energy will be the power couple to watch – a complementary duo that leads to the creation of a world with cleaner energy.