Today, power generation is the world’s single-largest source of energy demand, and over the next 30 years, natural gas will become the most important fuel source to provide electric consumption worldwide. It is important that the U.S. embraces the gift of its natural resources and that the government put in place regulations that allow producers to responsibly develop the country’s abundant natural gas resources.
According to ExxonMobil, worldwide electricity use is projected to increase by 90% from 2010 to 2040, with developing countries accounting for the overwhelming majority of that increase.
Electricity demand growth is projected to outpace that of overall energy demand. Increasing worldwide urbanization and rise in incomes and standards of living will drive the demand for electric generation for the next 30 years and beyond.
According to BP, 42% of primary energy was converted into electricity in the power sector in 2012, up from 30% in 1965. By 2035, that share will rise to 46%. Fuels for power generation account for 57% of the growth in primary energy consumption from now to 2035. The power sector is a good barometer for the energy industry because it is the one place where all fuel sources compete.
As you have heard by now, the U.S. has an abundance of natural gas. Together with the overwhelming supply of affordable natural gas, policies will continue to drive stricter emissions standards and provide natural gas an avenue to be embraced by the power generation sector. ExxonMobil predicts that demand for natural gas in the power generation sector is expected to rise by about 80% by 2040.
Natural gas emits approximately 60% less CO2 than coal when used for power generation and has much lower emissions of sulfur dioxide. It is an abundant, affordable source of energy for the future needs of the U.S. and the world.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Potential Gas Committee, the U.S. estimated future supply of natural gas stood at 2,718 trillion cubic feet at year end 2012 – enough to meet U.S. energy needs for more than 100 years.
Natural gas will be the world’s fastest-growing major energy source through 2040, according to ExxonMobil, and global demand is projected to rise by close to 65% from 2010 to 2040, as well as account for about 40% of the growth in global energy needs.
U.S. domestic gas production has been drastically revitalized by the North American shale gas revolution. The U.S. was worried about the prospects of having to import natural gas, but it has an overabundance of readily available natural gas in the market. The country is still in the early stages of the development of its natural gas resources. Accordingly, ExxonMobil predicts that U.S. shale gas output by 2029 will exceed the highest level ever achieved by conventional gas production in the U.S.
Natural gas will allow the U.S. to economically and environmentally supply for its energy needs for many years to come. The development of U.S. natural gas resources could truly be a grand public-private partnership. With the desire to reach energy independence and supply for the country’s power needs, both sides should be willing to listen to the needs of the other to move forward in the responsible development of this great resource.
Photo by Jim Parkin