In an article for WE Magazine, Navigant, a Guidehouse company, explores the future role of gas in the West
Utilities face the challenge of achieving environmental objectives while balancing customer, economic, infrastructure, and reliability considerations. In the West of the United States, the region’s decarbonization goals pose particularly difficult challenges for gas utilities.
In an article for WE Magazine, Guidehouse’s Karin Corfee, partner, Bill Goetzler, partner, and Danielle Vitoff, associate director, describe how these goals could turn from challenge to new business opportunity for gas companies.
With some stakeholders favoring an electrification only approach, the Guidehouse experts highlight that electrification and renewable gas are not mutually exclusive pathways to decarbonization.
“An optimized gas scenario,” wrote the authors, “which combines electrification of the most viable sectors with renewable natural gas and hydrogen use, can achieve emissions reduction goals while maintaining key network benefits and using existing gas infrastructure to minimize the cost of transition to a fully decarbonized economy.”
Proponents of the electrification-only decarbonization pathway often focus on the low cost of renewables and the emissions of natural gas, but neglect the cost of electrifying the entire energy system, e.g. in view of infrastructure, storage or stranded assets.
Gas utilities must act quickly to develop business plans and roadmaps to identify and enable their new role in a decarbonized world.