03 Nov '11, 10am

Learning from history: Why natural gas prices will rise

Learning from history: Why natural gas prices will rise

Here's the standard story about the U.S. power grid: It gets baseload supply from hydro, nuclear, and coal (in that order), using natural gas (and the occasional oil plant) as a swing producer to meet peak demands. Renewables play on the margin, but are neither big nor reliable enough to matter from a grid planning perspective. On average, that story is true. In recent years, however, a steadily larger portion of total U.S. power supply comes from sources that we historically think of as "intermittent" -- namely, natural gas and renewables. Is that the beginning of a new paradigm (the dream of both the renewable and natural gas communities) or an unsustainable deviation from the average (the dream of the coal industry)? To answer that question, we must review a bit of history. The chart below shows the percent of total U.S. power that came from the "baseload triumvirate" o...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/natural-gas/2011-11-01-learning-from...

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