The future role of natural gas in U.S. electricity generation is under the microscope. At present, 38 percent of the nation’s generation is from gas. The current vision of the Biden Administration and some utilities is to significantly reduce reliance on natural gas by 2050 in order to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. Is this timetable achievable? What is the impact on the grid if gas is substantially reduced?
These are the issues swirling around for utilities and the customers they serve as they plan, build, and implement their carbon-neutral futures.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, the utility giant, is weighing the closure of its largest generating station, the coal-fired 2,470-megawatt Cumberland Plant, and will replace it with gas generation if no alternatives can be found. It has released an RFP for 5,000 MW of new, carbon-free generation, a massive request that may produce long-term effects if it cannot be fulfilled by the timeframe of 2029.
The United States is not alone in this problem. The European Union is wrestling with its natural gas dilemma - due to its delicate position with Russia - by classifying some gases, including methane, and nuclear, as green. Will there be a similar compromise in the United States?
Can utilities significantly reduce or completely eliminate natural gas utilization? What would be the consequences?
Don Moul, Executive Vice President and COO, Tennessee Valley Authority
David Naylor, President, Rayburn Country Electric Co-Op
Phil Moeller, Executive Vice President, Edison Electric Institute
Jack Weixel, Senior Director, S&P Global Commodity Insights
William Hederman, Adjunct Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Jennifer Hiller, The Wall Street Journal
Ken Silverstein, Forbes
Rod Kuckro, Freelance