There is no shortage of new technologies that tout themselves as the next big thing in energy and saving consumers money. But according to a paper by Pecan Street, replacing natural gas usage for electricity would account for more than $400 for average annual savings in the ERCOT area of Texas.
Because close to a third of all natural gas in the country is burned within houses, a switch to electricity has vast benefits for the environment, minimizing emissions in the process.
A lot of naysayers will point out that the grid will buckle under the added demand, but this switch from natural gas to electricity would clearly not happen overnight. With enough delicacy, the powers at be and ERCOT can achieve a balancing act that doesn’t drain too much of the grid’s capacity.
ERCOT might not be the most open to hear these sorts of ideas coming off of the crazy summer that Texas had, but many are stating that the grid can handle it. This can lead to a lot of savings if operations are changed accordingly to reinforce a stronger electrification of households.
Natural Gas as a Long Term Plan?
Because natural gas is such a staple of the Texas economy, it’s hard to imagine that it will disappear any time soon. That hasn’t stopped cities from banning natural gas though. Cities like Berkeley, California and parts of Massachusetts are banning it outright.
Overall, what may win out is a collection of cities that are investing in the longevity of the climate – The Sierra Club being a notable mention as 100 cities have banded together to try and go 100% renewable by 2050. This could very well tip the dominos in favor of a more electrified grid.
Those who are rallying for the integrity of the natural gas industry – the suppliers and drillers – are fighting back against any bans. After all, natural gas usage has helped the recent coal phaseout in the Texas and abroad, but there’s a caveat, as Daniel Cohan of The Hill points out: natural gas means methane, which is “roughly 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide.” Sure, coal has fallen, but with it comes higher methane levels – often a result of natural gas ‘flaring’.
Again, all of this leads back to the central question:
Does it make sense to keep investing in natural gas for the long term, or is it a good idea to instead invest in a more electrified country?
Right now seems to be a crucial transitionary period for more electrical connectivity, versus the traditional fossil fuel route of old.