'It will take blue jobs to make sure that green power works'

Natural Gas Supply Association President R. Skip Horvath, prior to US President Barack H. Obama's State of the Union address on Feb. 24.

Natural Gas Supply Association President R. Skip Horvath, prior to US President Barack H. Obama's State of the Union address on Feb. 24:

"We understand President Obama may discuss his desire to see more electrical power generated from wind and solar. We hope he and his administration recognize they will need clean natural gas to back up those sources of electricity.

"In addition to its energy and environmental benefits, roughly 5.8 million Americans are employed in and supported by the natural gas and oil industries. Those are blue jobs, taking that image from the blue flame that comes from clean burning natural gas. We hope that the president and his staff understand that it will take blue jobs to make sure that green power works.

"Because it has the ability to 'follow load' relatively easily, natural gas keeps America's electricity current at 60 cycles per second, which is necessary to keep lights on and sensitive electrical equipment running smoothly. That is extremely important when planning to move forward with intermittent wind and solar power.

"Even though the price of natural gas was relatively high last year, electricity produced from natural gas still had the lowest overall cost because of its higher efficiency, productivity and lower capital costs. That's part of the reason that in the last 10 years, over 90% of the new electric generation capacity built in the United States has been natural gas-fired. We expect more natural gas units will be built and installed as more solar and wind projects come on line."

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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