WASHINGTON (April 19, 2023) — The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has released a white paper highlighting the importance of natural gas and the need for policies that reflect its value to the American economy, the energy transition, and climate progress. Entitled “Natural Gas: Its Key Role in a Strong Economy and a Lower Emissions Future,” the paper explains how natural gas is linked to several national priorities.
Congress and the Biden administration want to boost U.S. competitiveness, improve grid reliability and resiliency, strengthen supply chains, and accelerate the development and use of lower-emissions technologies. Natural gas can support each of these goals. We hope this paper will help people understand the benefits of natural gas and why it should have a prominent place in these conversations.
Natural gas is a versatile resource used by all major sectors of the U.S. economy. It’s vital to American chemistry and manufacturing supply chains. Abundant and affordable supplies have led to historic levels of chemical industry investment in the United States over the past decade. For many companies, access to affordable, industrial-scale supplies of natural gas is critical to the competitiveness of U.S. operations.
Natural gas supports the energy transition and a lower emissions future. Fuel switching to natural gas has helped reduce emissions in the electric power and manufacturing sectors. In the future, much of our nation’s new electric generation capacity is expected to come from natural gas or renewables. As other energy sources (e.g., wind, solar) continue to come online with expanded access, natural gas can help support grid reliability.
ACC’s paper examines how natural gas could contribute to climate innovation. Hydrogen can be produced from natural gas, and it may be possible to convert natural gas pipelines to carry a blend of natural gas and hydrogen. Energy-efficient combined heat and power (CHP) systems often rely on natural gas. In the future, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS); direct air capture; and catalysis could be employed during electricity generation or in manufacturing processes using natural gas. Chemistry companies are among the leaders and participants in exploring the development and use of lower-emissions technologies.
Natural gas empowers American chemistry to create and provide climate solutions. Solar panels and wind turbines, advanced battery storage, electric vehicles (EVs) and lightweight vehicle parts, and high-performance building materials are among the many energy-saving applications that rely on chemistry and plastics. These chemistry products and technologies often start with natural gas as an energy source or feedstock.
ACC’s new white paper elaborates on each of these topics and provides citations to third-party sources for more information. It closes with an overview of necessary policies.
“Our nation needs policies that encourage secure and reliable energy and electricity, infrastructure development, timely and efficient permitting, and a diverse portfolio of energy sources and technologies,” Jahn said.
“To realize the promise of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we need continued leadership from Congress and the administration to modernize the siting, review and permitting processes for energy and manufacturing projects and infrastructure and to unlock secure supply chains for critical minerals, chemistries and other inputs,” Jahn concluded. “The Lower Energy Costs Act (H.R. 1) advances these priorities and recognizes the role of natural gas in a competitive, lower-emissions economy. We look forward to proposals in the Senate.”