U.S. Natural Gas Issues

Thomas S. Edgar
University of Texas USA

The renaissance taking place in the U.S. due to increased production of low-cost natural gas from shale is changing the energy marketplace as well as near-term technology options. The use of natural gas in combined heat and power with its high thermal efficiency is receiving increased attention as a way to reduce the overall use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas production. However, the natural gas bubble should not cause policy makers to slow the move toward renewable energy and introduction of automation technology such as smart grids. Time of day pricing of power and use of demand response techniques and smart grids to flatten demand curves are important ingredients that favor intermittent power sources. Increased usage of thermal storage systems will give industrial and building energy users some degrees of freedom to deal with the dynamic power conditions as well as reduce peak loads.