Wind & Solar Power Creeping Up On Natural Gas In USA
In the United States natural gas is still on top, but clean energy is catching up which is quite incredible given the wide embrace of gas. Once again, this is showing that commercial viability, especially of solar, is changing the game faster than people think. Here's an excerpt:
Natural gas is still king when it comes to new, large scale utility scale power plants in the US — at least, for the next couple of years. However, there are some indications that wind and solar power are cutting into that turf. When you throw smaller utility scale power plants and distributed energy generation into the mix, the picture looks even better for renewables.
At the beginning of the Obama Administration, natural gas was widely touted as a cleaner “bridge” fuel that could accelerate the retirement of highly polluting coal power plants.
The retirement part certainly has happened, but not necessarily the cleaner part.
Researchers are beginning to take a closer look at the estimates of methane escaping from wellheads, pipelines and storage facilities.
Meanwhile, concern over the local impacts of natural gas fracking (short for hydrofracturing, a formerly “unconventional” method of oil and gas recovery) has already prompted several states to ban the practice outright.
Even Pennsylvania, which has been a fracking hotspot, has recently moved to tighten up its regulations.