Natural Gas vs Renewable Energy

solar wind energyNatural gas has long been considered as a “bridge fuel” that marks the transition from the use of coal to eventually making use of cleaner energy sources such as solar and wind power. Multiple evidence has been discovered to favour natural gas over its more dangerous counterpart, mostly due to the fact that it is considered a cleaner fossil fuel and can be easily and efficiently substituted for coal in most instances of power generation.

 

Is Natural Gas a Clean Energy Source?

Despite these claims, when put into practice, the only reason for considering natural gas as a favourable alternative is that it produces the exact same side-effects as coal only at a much slower rate. It can therefore be considered the equivalent of smoking light cigarettes as opposed to smoking normal ones –  the damage is still being done but you may not die as quickly as a regular smoker of normal cigarettes

Like coal, natural gas is a fossil fuel with limited supplies. Moreover, while the cost of extracting and burning it to produce energy may be relatively cheap in the financial sense, it is costing us dearly in terms of both our health and our physical environment.  

The actual process of extracting natural gas from the depths of the earth’s surface, where it is found, poses detrimental risks to the environment such as possible water and land pollution from harmful chemical emissions as well as the reduction of their limited supply.

Transitioning to Renewable Energy

Using natural gas as a short-term measure is advisable as it does emit just half the carbon dioxide produced by coal and fits within the existing power generation infrastructure currently in place. In the long-term, however, greater dependence on greener renewable sources of energy are required if we have any hopes of undoing at least some of the havoc caused by fossil fuel burning over the past century.  

It’s important to be mindful that natural gas should only be an interim solution, until we can work out sustainable ways to use renewable sources on a permanent basis.

The massive financial investments, adding up in the billions, of some of the world’s leading nations into the natural gas industry is more than likely to hamper political acceptance of renewable sources , when these do become a more widespread reality. Additionally, the convenient reliance on gas is also apt to slow the development progress on clean energy alternatives.

The transition to renewable sources is not an easy one to make and we’re still a long way off with many evolving technologies in need of further refinement as well as the continuing development of regulatory frameworks that must be in place in order to make use of them.

Recent international action of the likes of the Paris Climate agreement should be applauded for their efforts, but these are only the start of a very long and turbulent journey towards fully renewable sources that won’t harm our planet.