Report: Strengthening The Natural Gas System Supports Overall Energy Resilience

A new report reviews natural gas infrastructure resilience

The American Gas Association (AGA) welcomes a new report that examines regulatory changes that will support investments and infrastructure improvements necessary to support broader energy system resilience. “Enhancing and Maintaining Gas and Energy System Resiliency” commissioned by the American Gas Foundation concludes that the ability of the gas system to meet seasonal and peak day demands and to reliably deliver natural gas, even during high-impact events, represents an important and valuable resource that must be considered when designing future energy systems and building pathways to a low-carbon future.

“As we build towards our goal of a low-carbon future, we cannot lose sight of our goal to provide energy to all Americans 24/7/365,” said AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert. “This study provides excellent guidance on how to get us there, including recommendations for regulations at the federal level and supportive policies in the state and local arenas. Our regulators, who share our goal, can also facilitate improved coordination between the electric and natural gas industries. AGA and its members are talking to policymakers at every level about adopting these necessary strategies.”

More citizens are reliant on gas-powered electricity to meet their energy needs during peak demand periods and high-impact events, placing an added burden on the nation’s natural gas pipeline network. Regulators must create a framework for natural gas utilities to make resiliency investments and upgrades. The report presents several recommendations to help policymakers achieve that goal.

Legislation or other federal directives to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) could establish baseline resilience requirements for jurisdictional energy systems, according to the study. In addition, FERC can develop rules that require electric generators operating in regulated power markets to engage with fuel suppliers that adhere to resilience requirements. The study goes on to say that FERC resiliency requirements may be adopted by some states and utilities provided that supportive policies in the state and regulatory arenas recognize regional differences and state-specific requirements.

The study also recommends improving the interdependencies and coordination between the electric and natural gas industries, saying that FERC and the U.S. Department of Energy should consider policy and rules that recognize the importance and interdependencies and coordination of the natural gas and electric energy systems. In parallel, state commissions can establish workshops and/or dockets that establish policy and rules that recognize the importance and interdependencies of the natural gas and electric energy systems to ensure the points raised above are recognized and implemented at the federal level.

The study was presented to a gathering of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners on November 13.

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