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A Cleaner Energy Future: Natural Gas and the NEXUS Pipeline

Our future energy generation will include a range of fuel sources like solar, wind, nuclear, and, increasingly, natural gas. AMP has already touched on the many ways natural gas and the NEXUS pipeline will positively impact Michigan. Today, we’re drilling down to the safety and environmental benefits of this natural resource.

A Shift from the Past

Local Michigan energy companies have made significant strides in moving toward a 21st Century energy mix. We are finding innovative ways to replace the energy capacity Michigan and the rest of the Midwest are losing as old coal-fired plants retire. Increasingly, local energy providers are investing not only in wind and solar projects but also in natural gas to generate the electricity we need as a state.

A New Energy Source for a Cleaner Energy Mix

How much cleaner is natural gas than coal-generated electricity? Here are some natural gas facts that highlight the benefits:

  • Natural gas releases approximately 50 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than coal and 20 – 30 percent less than oil.
  • Compared with other fossil fuels, natural gas results in “negligible amounts” of other emissions, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury.
  • Technologies used to capture and store CO2 from coal-fired plants are being adapted to help reduce emissions from natural gas-powered plants even further.

Natural gas is also highly efficient as an energy source. “About 90 percent of the natural gas produced is delivered to customers as useful energy,” compared to roughly “30 percent of the energy converted to electricity” by conventional energy generation methods.

Natural gas has significant environmental advantages contributing to better air quality and protecting public health. In fact, as of last year, “America is at a 27-year low in its carbon emissions almost solely because natural gas has been replacing coal.”

Consider how much natural gas has offset coal as part of our energy mix over the past eight years. In 2009, natural gas was only eight percent of our state’s energy mix—today that figure has climbed to 18 percent. That’s more than a 100 percent increase, representing nearly one-fifth of our energy mix in 2017.

Michigan’s unique geography makes natural gas particularly feasible as an energy source to replace coal. And Michigan’s local energy providers are already moving forward with natural gas infrastructure investments that will enable us to maximize this important resource to keep energy reliable and affordable in Michigan.

Do you have questions about the benefits of natural gas for Michigan? Email us at info@allianceformichiganpower.com.