In last Friday’s Wall Street Journal, I read an article on natural gas (The Natural Gas Revolution) that got my attention and caused me a bit of concern. As Mr. Deutch points out, clean, abundant and domestic natural gas is rapidly becoming a much more important fuel than even two years ago. Unfortunately, he failed to address the benefits of natural gas’ direct use in homes and businesses; one of its most important and efficient applications.
When used directly to heat homes, to heat water and for cooking, natural gas emits 45 percent less carbon dioxide than coal and 30 percent less than heating oil. Natural gas water heaters and furnaces are more efficient than electric versions and have the added benefit of not adding to base load demand during peak hours. Electric water heaters also produce double the carbon dioxide emissions of natural gas.
In terms of efficiency, almost 70 percent of coal’s energy is lost by the time that coal-fired electricity reaches a customer. By contrast, only about 10 percent of natural gas’s energy is lost when it is produced and delivered directly to homes and businesses.
All of these attributes only highlight the important, and intelligent, role that natural gas plays in providing direct, reliable and low-carbon energy.