A diverse fuel mix for electricity benefits consumers(Read article summary)
We need all of our domestic energy resources to create a balanced fuel portfolio and satisfy our growing demand for electricity, Tracey writes.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP/File
The New York TimesÂ recently reportedÂ that â€śElectricity prices in New England have been four to eight times higher than normal in the last few weeks, as the regionâ€™s extreme reliance on natural gas for power supplies has collided with a surge in demand for heating.â€ť
And itâ€™s no surprise that theÂ Energy Information Administration (EIA)Â forecasts that our demand for electricitywill continue to rise. To meet that demand, weâ€™re going to need all of our available domestic energy resources. That means natural gas, nuclear, hydro and other renewables like wind and solar and especially coal.
The article went on to point out, â€śIt is certainly true that a region like New England that relies on a single fuel source like natural gas for the bulk of its power does leave itself open for more disruptions than a regionÂ with a more diverse fuel mix,â€ť said Jay Apt, executive director of the ElectricityÂ Industry Center at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. â€śItâ€™s not a knock against natural gas; itâ€™s a knock against a single fuel source.â€ť
The American Public Power Association has warned since 2010 that demand is outpacing the delivery capacity of gas infrastructure. At coal plants, â€śyou can look out the window and see that 60-day supply of your fuel,â€ť said Joe Nipper, the groupâ€™s senior vice president of government relations. But gas plants tend to deliver fuel just as it is needed.
According to the article, â€śAdditionally, experts say that the natural gas market and the electric market mesh poorly, because while the electric market runs around the clock, the gas market closes down at night.â€ť
Ultimately, the facts remain: We need all of our domestic energy resources to create a balanced fuel portfolio and satisfy our growing demand for electricity. Coal is reliable and generates the baseload electricity needed to supply the electricity American homes and businesses depend on, no matter what the current demands may be.