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EPA rule gives new boost to gas
Fuel Fix ^ | June 2, 2014 | Jennifer A. Dlouhy

Posted on 06/03/2014 5:09:05 AM PDT by thackney

Natural gas is poised to be one of the biggest winners of the Obama administration’s new plan to slash carbon dioxide emissions, accelerating the electric sector’s move away from coal toward the cleaner-burning power source.

Despite a modest climb in coal use for electric generation in 2013, it already has fallen out of favor in the power sector, as utilities increasingly turn to natural gas for its cheaper, lower-emission profile.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed standards — requiring states to pare carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent over 2005 levels by 2030 — are likely to hasten that switch.

But natural gas industry executives weren’t eager to crow about their victory Monday.

Instead of showering effusive praise on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal, industry leaders talked up the agency’s decision to give states broad “flexibility” to meet the proposed mandates — an approach that ensures continued coal-to-gas switching is one of the options.

‘Efficient and affordable’

American Gas Association President Dave McCurdy stressed the importance of carbon standards that allow “efficient and affordable applications of clean natural gas.”

Marty Durbin, president of America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a group of producers looking to build demand for the fossil fuel, stressed it is “already providing significant economic and environmental benefits.”

Flexible rules can preserve that dynamic, Durbin suggested.

“The rules should be flexible and fair,” Durbin said, “and we believe they should recognize the ability of natural gas to play an increasing role in the delivery of reliable, safe and clean power.”

States would have wide latitude deciding how to meet the EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide emission cuts, with options including greater efficiency along transmission lines and among electric consumers as well as adopting more renewable power sources, such as wind and solar.

Retiring coal plants

While efficiency may be the cheapest, quickest option in the short run, retirements of coal-fired plants — or adding gas to existing facilities — will also help states meet the targets.

And simply increasing the use of existing U.S. power plants that run on natural gas could help move states toward their individual goals, said Derek Furstenwerth, senior director of Environmental Services for Calpine Corp., a Houston-based power company.

“By simply increasing utilization of these facilities sooner rather than later, meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions may be achieved . . . while ensuring electric reliability,” Furstenwerth said.

Natural gas production in the U.S. has surged as energy companies combine hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to unlock the fossil fuel from dense underground rock formations, often as a byproduct of more highly prized oil.

Any increased power sector demand for natural gas could keep that activity going, suggested Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Co.

“While we are still evaluating the proposed rule, it’s clear the increased use of natural gas in the existing power sector could create the opportunity for the U.S. to further capitalize on abundant North American natural gas supplies – furthering an energy renaissance that continues to create jobs and a meaningful reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” Odum said in a statement.

Driving demand

Natural gas industry analysts expect the new EPA rule will help drive electric sector demand for gas, building on a separate environmental regulation aimed at curbing mercury pollution and existing market trends.

A rough calculation by America’s Natural Gas Alliance before EPA unveiled the carbon standards on Monday suggested the rules could raise the electric sector’s daily gas demand by as much as 10 billion cubic feet from the existing 22 billion cubic fee.

But not everyone is convinced.

Ross Eisenberg, vice president of energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, which opposes the proposed carbon rule, said that natural gas’ gains could be short lived.

“There’s opportunity for gas in the short term,” he said. “But in the long term, any major reductions here will hurt coal and natural gas.”

Dangerous precedent

Some in the oil and gas industry also have warned that the EPA’s carbon-cutting plans — including a previously proposed rule aimed at new power plants — set dangerous precedents that could, eventually, be applied against their products.

Even ANGA took that position earlier this year, when it filed comments with the EPA saying the new plant proposal effectively locked in carbon capture and sequestration technology it said was not ready for prime time.

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said the EPA’s plan “will have a chilling effect on energy investment that could cost jobs, raise electricity prices and make energy less reliable.”

Air is getting cleaner under existing policies and because of the private sector’s technological advancements, he said, concluding: “We can continue to make environmental progress without damaging the economy.”

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: coal; energy; epa; naturalgas

1 posted on 06/03/2014 5:09:05 AM PDT by thackney
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To: thackney
not to worry, NY is doing all it can to ban the extraction of cheap clean gas...
2 posted on 06/03/2014 5:12:09 AM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: Chode
They were waiting for this. They're going to tax the hell out of the natural gas and create an abundance of oversight jobs.

This new law anticipates higher rates for everything.

China is laughing their a** off.

3 posted on 06/03/2014 5:21:51 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Chode
1. A study a few years ago traced about 1.3 of the smog on the West Coast to ... you guessed it, China.

2. Years ago a power company built a natural gas generating station south of Dallas. Built it and let it sit mostly unused during the days of $13/MM CF natural gas. It is almost like this rule was created for Suez Energy ...

3. Excepting nuclear, there are few alternatives for baseline energy for the grid. Coal is probably the best over the long haul - and I don't mean the next two years of Obama trying to get elected a third term or paying off cronies.

4 posted on 06/03/2014 5:25:05 AM PDT by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
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To: Chode

I assert that if one of these “green” (ie, weather dependent) energy sources became viable, the left would do all it could to shut it down.

And as for this article, is it trying to paint a happy face on a turd or something?

5 posted on 06/03/2014 5:26:51 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: texas booster

Re: Obama third term.

I used to think that no one would actually try that. When some were saying this about Clinton, I knew it wasn’t a possibility.

With this guy? Yeah, it’s a distinct possibility. A manufactured crisis, an orchestrated crash of the economy and the utility grid, martial law - well within the possibilities of what he could and would do.

And I can just see the sheeperal excusing it and blaming conservatives.

6 posted on 06/03/2014 5:29:31 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: texas booster

Neither Taxing Nor Rationing CO2 Survives Cost Vs. Benefit Analysis

The most important players on the greenhouse stage are water vapor and clouds [clouds of course aren’t gas, but high level ones do act to trap heat from escaping, while low-lying cumulus clouds tend to reflect sunlight and thereby help cool the planet -etl]. Carbon dioxide has been increased to about 0.038% of the atmosphere (possibly from about 0.028% pre-Industrial Revolution) while water in its various forms ranges from 0% to 4% of the atmosphere and its properties vary by what form it is in and even at what altitude it is found in the atmosphere.

In simple terms the bulk of Earth’s greenhouse effect is due to water vapor by virtue of its abundance. Water accounts for about 90% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect — perhaps 70% is due to water vapor and about 20% due to clouds (mostly water droplets), some estimates put water as high as 95% of Earth’s total tropospheric greenhouse effect (e.g., Freidenreich and Ramaswamy, ‘Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models,’ Journal of Geophysical Research 98 (1993):7255-7264).

The remaining portion comes from carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, ozone and miscellaneous other ‘minor greenhouse gases.’ As an example of the relative importance of water it should be noted that changes in the relative humidity on the order of 1.3-4% are equivalent to the effect of doubling CO2.

7 posted on 06/03/2014 5:29:41 AM PDT by TurboZamboni (Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.-JFK)
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To: Chode
not to worry, NY is doing all it can to ban the extraction of cheap clean gas...

That's a good thing because the supply pipelines for the NE are a bit undersized for current demand.

Any additional supply would help.

More so after they close the dozen coal burners up that way!

8 posted on 06/03/2014 6:39:15 AM PDT by DUMBGRUNT
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To: Sacajaweau

Yep, everything is gonna get it in the rear.

I so look forward to 250.00 a month in heating bills, up from 80.00. And of course the 500.00/month in electricity, up from 170.00, when the AC is working OT during the summer.

Ohhhh Mr. Slimeball president, I thank you for the what you are doing to my country. (actually I would like to give you a natural gas enema and light your cigarette for you)

9 posted on 06/03/2014 7:20:54 AM PDT by biff (WAS)
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To: Sacajaweau
They're going to tax the hell out of the natural gas and create an abundance of oversight jobs.

Tax it too much, and there won't be much to oversee.

Just like the government to come up with solutions for nonexistent problems. Coal fired power plants in North Dakota and Wyoming, for instance harm what, exactly?

10 posted on 06/03/2014 7:33:21 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: biff

Welcome to California. ;) In the summer here a $500 electric bill is cheap.

11 posted on 06/03/2014 8:07:48 AM PDT by sheana
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