The Natural Gas Industry Is Fear-Mongering In California

Air Quality
the-natural-gas-industry-is-fearmongering-in-california

Published on November 14th, 2017
by Susanna Schick

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November 14th, 2017 by  


As solar, wind and batteries only get cheaper, the natural gas industry is starting to panic. Particularly now that they may be regulated into obsolescence in California. You know, the same industry that brought us the biggest natural disaster in the US wants to ensure its continued viability as a major source of electricity.

the-natural-gas-industry-is-fearmongering-in-californiaAccording to the California Energy Commission, nearly 45% of the natural gas burned in California was used for electricity generation, and much of the remainder consumed in the residential (21%), industrial (25%), and commercial (9%) sectors. 90% of it is imported from out of state. California also has a bit of a fracking problem. Because who needs clean water in a perpetual drought, anyway?

the-natural-gas-industry-is-fearmongering-in-california

So they’ve (I assume it’s SoCal Gas, or an industry lobbyist, as the survey was anonymous) sent out a ridiculously biased survey to strike terror into the hearts of every Californian who doesn’t realize that we actually need less natural gas, not more. The survey makes it seem as though energy costs will spike sky-high if natural gas is taken offline as an electricity source. Meanwhile, California’s 40 Years Of Energy Efficiency Efforts Have Saved $90 Billion In Utility Costs.

Instead of fear-mongering voters, they should be working to replace ALL diesel vehicles with CNG. The City of Los Angeles is upgrading its bus fleet from CNG to electric. Every manufacturer from Cummings to Tesla has an electric semi on offer. Siemens is already operating a pilot of electric trucks where they’re most needed. The natural gas industry lobbyists clearly need to up their game in transportation if they want to keep their jobs. Natural gas is a great alternative to diesel, but a terrible alternative to solar power + batteries.

Nobody’s going to take away your gas stove, don’t worry. But unless we adopt much cleaner energy sources, especially for electricity and transportation, we all may as well start looking for new homes. Because California will become an uninhabitable wasteland, and the only wall we’ll need is this one. And how is all that cheap Chinese junk supposed to dock at the country’s busiest port if we have to wall off the sea?

the-natural-gas-industry-is-fearmongering-in-california

Venice Beach, circa 2049, according to Blade Runner, and very likely with more leaking gas storage.

It’s easy enough for anyone to take the survey here, so feel free to contribute your two cents as a CleanTechnica reader. Here are some highlights from the survey:

Here are some concerns people have raised over a rapid conversion to renewable electricity sources. On a scale from 1 to 7, please indicate how much of a concern each one is to you with a 1 meaning it is not a concern at all and a 7 meaning it is a very serious concern.

A rapid conversion would create more inequality in electric rates as those who can afford to install solar panels on their home would be impacted least, while those who rely on traditional utilities could see rates rise rapidly.

Rapidly phasing out California power plants that run on natural gas would shock the economy, and impact the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Californians by costing us good paying jobs.

Trying to force a rapid conversion to renewables would create electricity shortages and force the state to buy short-term contracts for system power. These contracts could include dirty coal or diesel power that would increase emissions and the health problems that come with them.

California is already the national leader in converting our electric system to renewable energy but too rapid a conversion may force a backlash from reliability problems, shortages, rate spikes or job loss, which could then threaten the process of conversion completely.

Rapidly forcing all Californians and their electric suppliers to use renewable power would quickly raise rates across the state, spiking bills and putting undue financial stress on our most vulnerable citizens.

Here are some arguments from people who support continuing to use natural gas to generate electricity during the State’s transition to renewable energy. On a scale from 1 to 7, please indicate how convincing each argument is on behalf of continuing to use natural gas. A 1 means the argument is not convincing at all, and a 7 means it is very convincing. If you think a statement is not true, please mark that option.

More than 60 percent of households in California rely on natural gas for heating their homes, hot water and cooking. Natural gas is among the cleanest energy resources for commercial and industrial uses, transportation and electric generation and requiring alternatives will be costly and cumbersome.

The transportation sector accounts for 80 percent of all smog-forming emissions in Southern California. Long Haul Trucks can replace diesel fuel with natural gas and immediately begin reducing dangerous emissions along their routes. Fewer emissions from trucks will relieve respiratory health impacts on nearby residents, including the low income communities that are disproportionately impacted by the emissions.

Natural gas is more affordable. Nationwide, households that use natural gas appliances for heating, hot water, cooking, and laundry spend almost $700 less per year than most homes using electricity for those appliances. Many families cannot afford the higher rates or investment in new energy systems

Here are some arguments from people who support continuing to use natural gas to generate electricity during the State’s transition to renewable energy. On a scale from 1 to 7, please indicate how convincing each argument is on behalf of continuing to use natural gas. A 1 means the argument is not convincing at all, and a 7 means it is very convincing. If you think a statement is not true, please mark that option.

Natural gas is our cleanest burning energy source, and there are many ways to more effectively reduce the state’s carbon footprint. Taking away the best way to cook food in our homes and in our restaurants simply isn’t necessary now or in the near future.

California just invested many billions of dollars in recent updates to make our natural gas infrastructure more efficient, clean, and safe. The State’s natural gas infrastructure provides our cleanest burning fossil fuels and provides a livelihood for thousands of Californians. Natural gas must be a part of a socially and economically responsible transition to a 100 percent clean energy future.

Businesses large and small rely on natural gas to serve their customers. Small businesses, such as cafes and restaurants, use natural gas to cook and prepare food for their patrons and rely on the low cost and efficiency of natural gas to keep their business profitable.

Phasing out cooking and heating and all use of natural gas is an expensive idea. We all want to protect the environment, but as we work to do so we need to also consider the burdens we are placing on poor and working class families when we dramatically increase their energy costs.

Nothing biased about that, now is there?



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About the Author

the-natural-gas-industry-is-fearmongering-in-california

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it’s only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles’ streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she’s converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.


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