Reducing Our Emissions and How We Get There
As we look to deliver a cleaner energy future, natural gas utilities and the energy they deliver will be front and center. The energy source has been responsible for significant reductions in emissions within the United States and its reliability, affordability and safety record has made it a prime choice for millions of Americans today.
Natural gas utilities are committed to reducing emissions even more than we have already through smart innovation, new and modernized infrastructure and advanced technologies that support reliable, resilient and affordable energy service choices for consumers.
To get there, the majority of AGA members have announced goals to reduce their emissions or achieve carbon neutrality in the next 30 years.
But what do these pledges actually mean? And how do we achieve these goals?
Natural Gas Is the Leading Replacement for
Coal for Generating Electricity
Increased use of natural gas is the single largest factor in power sector emissions reductions. The efficiency of natural gas and the growth of renewable energy have driven energy-related carbon dioxide emissions down to 27-year lows. Natural gas accounts for more than 38.4 percent of electricity generation and emits fewer greenhouse gases than coal for the same amount of electricity. By switching from coal to natural gas for electricity generation, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 53 percent.
What Does It Mean to Be Carbon Neutral?
To be carbon neutral does not mean that there will not be any emissions at all from power generation and energy usage. Even renewable energy sources create emissions over the course of their life cycle. What many carbon neutral goals mean is to use a baseline for emissions from one year, say 2005, and look to get emissions to, or below, that level.
How Do We Plan on Doing So?
Natural gas utilities are investing heavily in technologies that work to deliver affordable, reliable and safe energy to consumers. Investments in efficiency alone exceed $3.9 million per day and that has helped offset over 13.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from 2012-2018. Through investments like these and other advanced technologies we can offset more and more emissions and drive them down to levels that are ultimately carbon neutral.
Our Future Energy Goals
Utilities will build on these programs and also continue to invest in renewable natural gas, hydrogen and technologies like carbon capture and sequestration, advanced nuclear reactors, green hydrogen, longer-lasting better storage and carbon offset credits – all to achieve their ambitious goals. Additionally, AGA members are investing $100 million in a low-carbon resources initiative to demonstrate new ways to reduce methane emissions.
At the end of the day, our energy system is not, and has never been, reliant on one energy source. Natural gas has always worked in conjunction with other sources to meet the country’s energy needs. As we move into a cleaner energy future, that will continue to be the case.