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.

4 Reasons Why Natural Gas is Effective

natural gas effectiveness

Natural gas is a fossil fuel used as a source of energy for heating, cooking and electricity generation. There are many benefits to using it that go above and beyond the home. Natural gas is an all-round efficient fuel because it can help the environment, drive energy solutions, generate power and improve lives.

Promotes Cleaner Air

According to the International Gas Union (IGU), when natural gas is used as a power source, air quality significantly improves and smog clears up.  Burning natural gas, as opposed to other fossil fuels, is said to be both the most economical and efficient way for countries to meet the growing demands for energy, while also reducing the carbon footprint and improving overall air quality for its citizens. The population is growing at an exponential rate, in order to deal with the inevitable increase in demand for energy, as well as mitigate effects of climate change, countries need to be savvy with their fuel selection and utilise natural gases that can reduce the negative effects of emissions on the environment.

Provides Energy Solutions

Using natural gas in transportation is also invaluable. A vehicle powered by natural gas will produce 20-30% fewer CO2 emissions, when compared with gasoline. For large vehicles, like trucks, public transport buses and trains, natural gas is also beneficial and generally more environmentally friendly than other power solutions. Natural gas is also a cleaner source of fuel, it produces 50% fewer emissions than coal.

Natural gas is innovative in nature, it has changed the way we work, live and travel. Methods used to safely extract gas from hard-to-reach places has contributed to the changes in global energy. Natural gas is also the driving force behind smart energy systems, i.e. renewable gas, integrated energy systems and load response.

Power Generation

The utilisation of natural gas is highly efficient because it is readily available and accessible. It is estimated that “60% more coal needs to be burned to generate the equivalent power of a natural gas power plant” (IGU) This undeniably makes natural gas the most efficient fossil fuel and provides further evidence for its effectiveness in providing the population with energy.

Positive Effect on Lives

Natural gas improves quality of life on a societal level. It provides millions of people with employment opportunities. There are workers who are directly employed to explore, produce, transport and distribute natural gas. It is vital to the 21st century economy because it provides the base of economic growth in countries around the world. For example, fertilisers, plastics amongst other products are processed using natural gas.

In addition, natural gas also improves lives on an individual level. Of course, many families use it in their homes to heat spaces during winter, produce hot water supplies and cook on a daily basis, amongst other things.

Natural gas is also reliable, unlike electricity, where blackouts can happen, natural gas is located underground and so the chance of an outage is quite rare. Many industries have profoundly benefited from the use of natural gas. It is clear that there are many advantages of using a naturally occurring fuel to power and advance society on both the global and individual level.