Clean energy standard should include gas, Bingaman told

The presidents of four major natural gas industry associations urged US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to include gas in any clean energy standard that Congress develops.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 12 -- The presidents of four major natural gas industry associations urged US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to include gas in any clean energy standard (CES) that Congress develops.

“We agree that gas will be essential to meeting the nation’s greenhouse-gas reduction goals, and, therefore, should a CES be adopted, it should be crafted so that utilities have the option of using gas to comply with the generation portfolio requirements,” said R. Skip Horvath of the Natural Gas Supply Association, Donald F. Santa Jr. of the Interstate Natural Gas Association, Barry Russell of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and David N. Parker of the American Gas Association.

Bingaman has said repeatedly that he considers it essential to require US utilities to generate increasing amounts of their power from alternative and renewable sources to reduce carbon emissions and fight global climate change.

The NGC members said in its Mar. 12 letter to him that a recent Congressional Research Service report suggested that simply by making full use of gas power plants which are already built and not being fully used, “significant emission reductions could be achieved…without major infrastructure additions, and without the development of new technologies or energy supplies.”

Gas which has been found in abundance in shale formations in more than 20 states has led to a 39% increase in domestic supplies, they continued. “This has transformed the ability of the industry to respond more rapidly, with more flexibility and on a larger scale than ever before, enabling greater use of this domestic energy resource,” they said.

Noting that energy and climate legislation so far in Congress has largely overlooked gas’s potential role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the four association officials urged Bingaman and his colleagues to include it in any CES that is enacted.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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