The next big natural gas infrastructure in the United States will come from the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and New York, according a new analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
That’s a stark contrast to the states that will be hardest hit by the construction of new wells in the next decade.
The NRDC is calling on the administration to accelerate the process of planning and constructing new natural gas facilities, especially in states that have historically struggled to develop the infrastructure necessary to serve the energy needs of an aging population.
“When the next generation of gas plants are coming online, we’ll be asking why the states are being so slow to develop infrastructure,” said Rachel Shoup, NRDC senior policy director.
“They’re going to be asking, what are the real needs?
The states will need to show us why they’re not meeting their own needs.”
In its latest report on the future of the nation’s natural gas production, the NRDC found that while the states will have the capacity to produce 1.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day by 2030, the cost of the infrastructure is set to soar.
That could leave the states with the financial capacity to pay for a few hundred million fewer natural gas wells.
The report also points out that, for the first time, the report doesn’t count in future growth projections the number of new natural fuel-fired power plants that are expected to come online over the next three years.
But the report also highlights that, as states get more familiar with the risks associated with new facilities, they’ll be more likely to push to build the infrastructure that works best for them.
“If we were to look at the infrastructure we have now, we would see that it’s not doing us any favors,” said Shoup.
“The infrastructure that’s in place now is not providing the necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of the future.”
The NRDC’s new report notes that as of the beginning of the year, the country had 7.2 billion cubic meters of natural-gas reserves.
That means the country has a total of 5.2 trillion cubic feet, or nearly 4 trillion gallons of natural reserves, but the NRDS report argues that the number is too low.
According to the NRD, there are currently 3,624 natural gas resources in the country, and the amount of gas produced by each of those resources is still relatively small.
“The current rate of development is a serious problem for the country’s long-term energy security,” Shoup said.
“It’s putting a lot of the country at risk.”
While the NRDA’s report recommends that the administration focus on expanding existing natural gas fields, it also warns that new gas development can create more risks for water quality, air quality, and climate change.
“We need to make sure that we have a better understanding of what we’re doing in order to be able to make the best decisions,” Shoff said.
In addition to the challenges posed by new gas infrastructure, the study found that there are already environmental issues that have not been properly addressed by the federal government.
Among the problems, the natural gas industry is being forced to grapple with a growing demand for electricity, and states and localities have to contend with the risk of water contamination from new infrastructure projects.
Additionally, the federal agency tasked with overseeing all natural gas developments has been plagued by problems, including the failure of the agency to ensure that wells are adequately monitored and that their safety is not compromised.
While those issues have made natural gas development more difficult, the issue of environmental protection and the risk to public health from climate change have been exacerbated by the increased development of new coal plants, the authors write.
For more on the NRDF report, read the full report here: