The American Gas Association showed up at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum this week. It’s pretty striking how strongly natural gas hawks want to argue that their product is closer to clean energy than to coal and oil. Natural gas does produce half the greenhouse gas emissions as oil and coal, but there are also concerns about environmental damage related to fracking.
Needless to say, the AGA was pushing the argument that it can act as the fill in power, so called natural gas peaking plants, for the times when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. The proliferation of natural gas peaking plants is inevitable though the grid battery storage industry is betting that utilities will consider batteries to stabilize the grid. Companies like Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures funded Ambri are working to bring down costly grid battery storage.
What one hopes is that the natural gas craze doesn’t crowd out renewables and shift from natural gas as peaking plant to natural gas as baseload power provider for the masses. My own bet is that natural gas prices will slowly creep north over the next decade as solar and wind creep down, which should make natural gas marginally less attractive. But still very attractive.