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Will Natural Gas Fuel America?

August 26th, 2011 |

Thanks to the Post Carbon Institute for this report.  See http://www.postcarbon.org/report/331901-will-natural-gas-fuel-america-in. To download the report, see http://www.postcarbon.org/reports/PCI-report-nat-gas-future.pdf,

A detailed new energy report argues that the natural gas industry has propagated dangerously false claims about natural gas production supply, cost and environmental impact. The report, “Will Natural Gas Fuel America in the 21st Century” is authored by leading geoscientist and Post Carbon Institute Fellow J. David Hughes.

REPORT: Will Natural Gas Fuel America in the 21st Century?

David Hughes

Published May 29, 2011

In this groundbreaking report, geoscientist David Hughes (formerly of Geological Survey of Canada) shatters the myth that U.S. natural gas can be a “bridge fuel” from high-carbon sources of energy like coal and oil to a renewable energy future.


Natural gas has increasingly been touted as a “bridge fuel” from high-carbon sources of energy like coal and oil to a renewable energy future. This is based on renewed optimism on the ability of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to access natural gas from previously inaccessible shale gas deposits. A review of the latest outlook (2011) of the U.S. Energy Information Administration(EIA) reveals that all eggs have been placed in the shale gas basket in terms of future growth in U.S.gas production. Without shale gas, U.S. domestic gas production is projected to fall by 20% through 2035.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.postcarbon.org/report/331901-will-natural-gas-fuel-america-in



One Response to “Will Natural Gas Fuel America?”

  1. George Taylor Says:

    While David Hughes’ claim that shale gas is not economically viable appears to conflict with the publically-reported operating results of natural gas producers, he may be correct that the total volume of gas which can ever be produced for today’s low price will turn out to be much smaller than the optimists have predicted.

    But that’s not why natural gas cannot be a “bridge fuel to a renewable energy future.” The reason is that there is no such thing as a renewable energy future, unless the definition of renewable energy includes increases in efficiency and nuclear power,
    because technologies such as wind electricity cannot operate by themselves. Given that wind is part-time and not available on demand, the only way to use it in any quantity is to combine it with gas or coal-fired generators of equal capacity in order to produce one slice of full-time supply. But in any such combination, the gas or coal facility has to supply about 70% of the electricity. Which means that not only can wind electricity never free us from dependence on fossil fuels, wind electricity will actually lock us into dependence on fossil fuels forever.

    So if natural gas runs short and its price skyrockets, the gas/wind combination will not more viable than gas by itself.

    The only practical alternatives to fossil fuels are lower population, more efficient use of energy, and nuclear power. Those are the areas in which we need concentrate our best efforts.

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