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Implications of Greater Reliance on Natural Gas for Electricity Generation

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  • Implications of Greater Reliance on Natural Gas for Electricity Generation

    Executive Summary
    This report—Implications of Greater Reliance on Natural Gas for Electricity Generation—examines theimpacts on natural gas and deliveries to electric utilities should rules limiting utility emissions of carbon or other pollutants result in a shift away from coal towards using more natural gas to generate electricity. It was commissioned by the American Public Power Association (APPA), with financial support from the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) and other electric utilities.

    The report begins with a review of the natural gas industry for those who are less familiar with it. It then covers demand, supply, transmission and storage infrastructure, and operational changes that will need to be made by units switching from coal to gas. This report also examines the economics of switches from coal to gas. An understanding of these issues is needed if the electricity industry should need substantially more gas than several studies have suggested. If substantially more gas is needed, then a number of changes will need to be made by both the gas and electricity industries: changes such as massive infrastructure additions, changes to nominating and balancing services, changes to curtailment rules, and changes to subscription levels on interstate pipelines, for starters. The ultimate purpose of the study is to identify those implications so that policy makers can take them into account in deciding what regulations to adopt, and utilities can take them into account in making selections about what resources to use in providing electricity to their customers.

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