Natural Gas as a Bridge Fuel

Weatherby Energy is a gas and oil operator that is independent and privately owned. Their main offices are located in Duncan Oklahoma, and they have more than forty years of experience discovering, drilling, developing and managing low-cost, high-return gas and oil fields. Through the implementation and utilization of some of the latest gas and oil field technologies, Weatherby Energy has plans to continue, and expand, on their past successes. America has an over-dependence on foreign gas and oil, so there has been a lot more focus in recent years on alternative “green” energies. While research and develop on energies like solar and wind have been able to make great strides of late, the economies of scale are not yet developed enough to make these energies applicable on a wide scale. Weatherby Energy, among many others, believes that natural gas can serve, as a viable “bridge fuel” until the next generation of energy technologies are mature.

Most people don’t realize that 45% of the United State’s electricity is produced by coal-burning power plants. Many of these coal-power plants, about 33% of them, are between 40 and 70 years old and are so inefficient that they have been exempt from many of the Clean Air Act provisions. Weatherby Energy has learned that this is about to change. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is about to issue new regulations that curtail smog, ozone emissions, greenhouse gases, mercury, coal ash and water intake. Many of these coal-powered plants are expected to close by 2017 without major, and expensive, modifications.

Although natural gas is considered a fossil fuel, just like coal and oil are, it has the distinct advantage of burning cleaner than those others. One option for coal-powered plants is to switch to cleaner-burning natural gas. Already, natural gas is responsible for producing about twenty percent of the country’s electricity. These gas-powered plants produce roughly half of the carbon dioxide of coal-powered plants. When you compare the older power plants, the savings can be even greater. Readily available, and relatively cheap, natural gas from Weatherby Energy is in a perfect position to lead the way in filling the energy gap that will be created if these coal-powered sources of electricity simply go away.

At some point, renewable energies like wind and solar may become efficient enough on a large scale to replace fossil-fuel burning plants. As already stated, natural gas can bridge the gap until that time. In addition, natural gas can be the solution to alleviate some of the natural limitations of these green fuels. One of their drawbacks is that they are not always available. Cloud cover can limit solar production and if there is no wind, wind-power generation obviously decreases. This leads us to a second limitation; it is difficult to account for spikes in the demand for energy. On hot summer days, air conditioners work overtime, and on cold winter days furnaces and heaters do. With fossil-fuel plants you can add more fuel to increase production. With renewable sources, you can’t just add more sun or more wind. Weatherby Energy believes that one solution to these problems would be hybrid plants. Natural gas-wind and natural gas-solar hybrids would allow the plants to quickly increase production on cloudy, windless days and when spikes in demand occurred.

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