The Natural Gas Industry Is Fear-Mongering In California
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.
According 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?
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?
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.