How natural gas sweetens the US energy pie

Today marks Pi Day, an international recognition of the mathematical relationship between the circumference of a circle and its diameter, but we’d like to take the opportunity to talk about a different kind of pie. Not cherry or apple. Not even chocolate cream. We’re going to talk about the American energy pie.

You might think the U.S. energy pie sounds less appetizing than other options, but it is just as delicious because it makes so many everyday things possible. Without it, your natural gas oven would just be a box with a door. This pie is used by electricity companies to power homes and businesses. Without it, your fridge and other appliances are left depowered.

The recipe for a successful U.S. energy pie requires a healthy amount of natural gas.

In 2016, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that natural gas makes up nearly one-third of our essential energy mixture. As we continue building infrastructure to support additional takeaway capacity, such as the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline expansion, you can expect the number to grow as it has since the earlier part of this century.

The energy pie doesn’t favor one source over others. Williams understands the importance of all energy sources, including nuclear and renewables. Our natural gas works in coordination with other types of energy. For example, the sun isn’t always shining and the wind isn’t always blowing. At those times, electricity grid operators need to generate power through another source.

More and more, they are choosing natural gas. A study last year by economic consultants The Brattle Group for the American Petroleum Institute noted:

… falling natural gas prices and more stringent environmental regulations have led natural gas generation to replace output from coal, and, to some extent, retired nuclear resources.

Why? It’s not just that natural gas is a low-cost, domestic energy source. Natural gas has advantages over other energy resources for the attributes needed for system reliability.

How great does an energy source that’s affordable, domestic and loved by electricity grid operators sound? That’s natural gas. Without it, our nation’s energy pie doesn’t have the right ingredients.