This week, the Obama administration released its much-anticipated "Clean Power Plan," and America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) has some strong views on what this does and doesn't mean for the nation's energy future.
We have a high degree of confidence that natural gas will play a significant and growing role in electricity markets. It is clean, affordable and abundant – all reasons why states will plan a robust role for this American fuel when they begin making choices about what power source to use.
Yesterday, the Energy Information Administration said that in April power sector carbon emissions had reached the lowest level since 1988. Not coincidentally, April was the first time in history that natural gas overtook coal as the number one fuel source for electricity. The connection is clear. Natural gas use in power generation reduces carbon emissions.
On Monday, ANGA President and CEO Marty Durbin released a statement underscoring the critical role natural gas will play in America's clean power future:
Natural gas is the most cost effective compliance option that states have in almost all cases as they contemplate where their future electricity will come from and how, specifically, they will balance the dual mandates of cleaner air and healthy economic growth.
An accelerating move to natural gas is critical to keeping the lights on, heating and cooling our homes and fueling growth in domestic manufacturing, all while reducing air emissions. We stand ready to work with states, customers, consumers and the energy and environmental community to ensure that this transition moves forward efficiently and cost effectively.
Durbin also raised questions about the administration's efforts to downplay the importance of natural gas in reducing carbon emissions, noting "The White House is ignoring market realities and …perpetuating the false choice between renewables and natural gas. We don't have to slow the trend toward gas in order to effectively and economically use renewables."
ANGA Executive Vice President Frank Macchiarola echoed Durbin's comments, telling PoliticoPRO, "We were disappointed with the message the White House took this weekend, which was in a sense running away from natural gas. Whether or not that rhetoric turns into reality within the rulemaking is still to be determined."
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Macchiarola said, "With or without this rule, natural gas is well positioned to be the baseload fuel of choice for electricity generation." He also highlighted the incredible increase in natural gas production (40 percent over the last decade) and said, "The opportunity is really brighter than ever for natural gas."
Catch more of ANGA's comments on the Clean Power Plan:
This is a complicated rule and we will be spending time in the days, weeks and months ahead dissecting the data.