Cost Savings from Natural Gas Generation
Natural gas is one of the most cost effective forms of energy on the market. A new natural gas plant costs less than half the cost of building a new coal-fired power plant and can be brought on line much quicker. Natural gas also has the greatest cost to efficiency ratio of any utility scale power source currently available, plus there is an abundance of natural gas right here in the U.S. With new discoveries of shale gas in recent years, natural gas supplies in the U.S. are expected to last for more than the next century, and these discoveries have made natural gas prices stable, in contrast to oil prices that are on the rise due to shortages and increased demand.
Economic Benefits of Natural Gas for Colorado
CIEA has fourteen members who are in the business of owning and operating natural gas plants in Colorado. Together they own a total of 1,800 MW of natural gas plants here, and these plants employ hundreds of people and generate millions of tax revenue for Colorado and its various counties. Some of these gas projects are the single largest property tax paying entities in their Colorado communities.
Environmental Advantages of Natural Gas
Natural gas emits somewhat less than half the CO2 per megawatt-hour (MWh) of a typical coal plant. Combined cycle natural gas plants emit 60% less CO2 than typical coal plants. Natural gas also has 80% fewer NOx emissions than coal plants and almost no particulate pollution, sulfur dioxide, or mercury emissions. Natural gas can also be easily dispatched for power generation, making it a great supplement to renewable energy sources like wind and solar at times when those sources cannot meet demand. Gas plants are ideal for integrating with wind and solar, since they can be more easily cycled up and down than coal plants, with substantially less emissions in the process.
Reliability of Natural Gas
Natural gas will be available for decades to come in abundant amounts. Gas resource in this country can be easily turned into energy and dispatched through an ever expanding system of gas pipelines. Technology for natural gas turbines has been improving dramatically, since they are derivatives of gas turbine engines used on most aircraft today. Natural gas plants have been used for decades as a source of peak-load electricity because they can be switched on and off quickly and easily.