The Natural Gas Phenomenon
The Washington Post recently reported that ALEC worked with legislators and lobbyists on a new Ohio law that redefines natural gas as green energy. It was a fictional story, but if you’re curious, you can find Maxine Joselow’s article here.
In reality, while all that was supposedly taking place, we were actually discussing language for a model resolution calling for proper forest management to reduce catastrophic wildfires and a model bill that would prevent power plant closures before their replacements come online.
And while we do not currently have model policy to redefine natural gas as green energy, it’s an interesting idea. Natural gas is one of the cleanest energies in modern times, and there are merits to the idea that states should consider recognizing it as such in their regulatory environment.
Natural gas emits about half the carbon-dioxide compared to coal in traditional power generation facilities. When it comes to residential cooking and heating, natural gas delivers energy directly to the consumer, without any loss in transmission, allowing for even greater efficiencies.
In fact, Germany – Europe’s shining example of a bastion of green energy – recognizes the merits of natural gas as a source of clean energy. Unfortunately, Germany failed to embrace what is generally referred to as an “all of the above approach” to energy, where diversified generation portfolios allow the market to absorb disruption from any one source, and is in the middle of an energy crisis.
Turning our grid to truly emission-free energy is decades away – and likely to take even longer as the federal government continues its hostility towards approving projects necessary to extract the materials needed to realize that future. At this point in time, natural gas is one of the market’s best solutions to balancing emission goals with the practical need to keep the lights on in America and Europe.
While we do not have a model policy concerning the status of natural gas, perhaps it should be a topic of discussion at our upcoming 2023 Annual Meeting. In the meantime, legislators looking to protect their constituents can turn to ALEC’s model Electric Generation Facility Closures and Reliability Act. Born out of last summer’s blackouts due to the premature shuttering of energy infrastructure, the model policy prevents agencies from taking power plants offline before their replacements were brought online.