October 28, 2013

Natural gas shuts down coal, nuclear plants

Nationwide, the abundance and low cost of natural gas has been having a significant effect on the way Americans get energy.

Nationwide, the abundance and low cost of natural gas has been having a significant effect on the way Americans get energy. Many coal plants have recently closed - not because of concerns over their environmental impact, but due to the fact that natural gas is cheaper and more readily available. This is an environmental victory, but only as a side effect of the economic benefits of natural gas.

Similarly, the construction of new nuclear power plants has largely been canceled or put on indefinite hold because of the feasibility of using natural gas for many of the nation's energy needs.

In contrast, 29 natural gas power plants are currently under construction in Pennsylvania alone.

“It's a destination fuel, if you will,” Patrick Henderson, the state's energy executive, told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Current production is 150 to 200 years. I think we look at it as a major baseline fuel and a key part of our portfolio that's going to be here.”

This state of affairs is beneficial for energy prices in the U.S., as well as comparatively friendly to the environment in opposition to production methods like coal. This trend does not seem as though it will reverse in the near future.