Natural gas is expected to outpace coal this year, which is good news for both the environment and the economy. Natural gas has been produced in record-breaking amounts over the past few years, due in large part to new hydraulic fracturing methods which make this both possible and affordable. Though it’s believed that coal use may eventually rise again with the rising costs of natural gas and oil, new and innovative methods of natural gas extraction may be able to keep the costs affordable.
The Natural Gas Boom
The natural gas boom has been fairly sudden, driven in large part due to fracking in the Marcellus shale. The substantial supply of natural gas throughout North America was never viable for widespread use until hydraulic fracturing methods were refined. In recent years, North American has been switching from coal-fired plants to natural gas plants, and new models of energy use such as new natural gas vehicles have been explored.
A Shift from Coal to Natural Gas
The shift from coal to natural gas is believed to cut carbon emissions by more than many solar, wind, and other alternative energy initiatives. Alternative and sustainable energy sources are very expensive, and this has kept them from widespread adoption. Meanwhile, the infrastructure to use natural gas is already in place, and many countries are interested in using natural gas because it is extraordinarily cheap. By switching from coal to natural gas, countries are able to save money while reducing their carbon emissions, which isn’t something that was previously possible. Renewable power still counts for less than 10% of the power that is used throughout the United States, whereas natural gas sits at 33%.
The Future of Natural Gas
It’s in the world’s best interests that natural gas remains a primary source of energy. To that end, it’s important that natural gas remains affordable to extract and purchase. Though oil and gas prices may climb again by 2017, there may be more uses for natural gas by then as the energy source becomes more popular. Natural gas may also be able to remain affordable through the use of innovative new techniques. A major concern is that new regulations and rules may make it prohibitively expensive to recover natural gas. If that does happen, it’s very likely that coal will become the dominant energy source once again. This is something that not only hurts the economy (because coal is a far less useful energy source than natural gas), but also harms the environment.
Natural gas is incredibly important to the country’s energy future. Not only does it make the country more energy independent, but it poises the United States as a potential exporter of natural gas throughout the globe. With the right infrastructure, natural gas could easily be used to ease reliance upon coal throughout the world, including third-world countries which rely upon coal for most of their energy. The major concerns are that safety rules and regulations will arise that could hold the industry back. Keystone Containment provides affordable, turn-key safety systems that meet all current regulations and more. Contact Keystone Containment today to learn more about their secondary containment systems and turn-key solutions.