Homes and businesses across the country are becoming increasingly vulnerable to higher electricity bills as utilities rely more and more on natural gas to generate electricity, according to a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
The report, entitled The Natural Gas Gamble, shows that the power sector is leading us into a danger zone by favoring natural gas over other alternatives, the report states.
"There's a well-documented history of volatility in natural gas prices," said Jeff Deyette, senior energy analyst at UCS and report co-author. "Increasing demand, extreme weather events, and uncertainties about available gas supplies can cause prices to spike dramatically. For example, last winter when the Polar Vortex brought bitter cold to much of the U.S., prices in some regions jumped 10- to 12-times higher than recent lows. Despite the recent surge in natural gas production, these trends could continue and leave consumers that rely on natural gas paying the price."
"Businesses and shareholders may also see their bottom lines negatively affected if utilities continue to expand natural gas in their electricity mix," said Deyette.
The natural gas industry's own data shows it would cost $313 billion to build the national infrastructure to transport, store and process the amount of natural gas the U.S. would need through 2035 if gas use continues to grow along the current trajectory, the article states.
In addition to creating carbon pollution, the process of extracting, distributing and combusting natural gas also results in methane leakage, which is 34-times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping heat, according to UCS.
To read the Union of Concerned Scientists article, click here.