August 17, 2012

Natural gas or coal?

I am not saying that I am a fan of fracking because of continuing threats to the water aquifers near the drilling.

The main draw to natural gas for power plants at the moment is the low price--about one third the cost of coal

EIA estimates that shale gas will comprise 49 percent of the gas supply by 2035. But natural gas is not clean energy only cleaner than coal energy

Potential EPA regulations could be enforced on methane emissions from shale gas. The methane in shale gas is probably more harmful to the environment than greenhouse gases in coal.

The proposed rule would require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO2 per MWh, meets that standard; coal plants, however, emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per MWh.

So let's hope the power companies look before they leap.