Natural Gas is a Viable Alternative Energy Source for Electricity Production

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The use of natural gas as an energy source, to produce electricity, is becoming more common in the United States. Due to growing concerns regarding global climate change and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG); the country’s dependence on foreign oil; and the fears that conventional natural gas supplies could be depleted within the next decade, the United States has begun developing alternative energy sources. Most critics would agree that clean alternative energy is the ideal source of electricity, but many argue about the available technology and efficiency of these sources. Many believe extracting unconventional natural gas sources would greatly benefit the United States in terms of limiting foreign oil dependency and providing a clean…show more content…
Brandt et al. (2014) identified gaps in CH4 emission data highlighting the need for further studies and life cycle analysis of operating wells to determine to what extent intentional and unintentional (fugitive) releases of methane contribute to the increased amount of methane present in the environment. It is the position of this paper, that while data is limited, with further technological advances and monitoring natural gas can be an effective transitional fuel source for electricity production. The paper includes a discussion of conventional sources of energy production and their extraction methods as well as the environmental impacts associated with each. The results section includes a compilation of data retrieved from multiple sources indicating global warming potentials associated with coal and natural gas. Finally, a discussion of the results confirms that based on available data natural gas is a viable alternative energy source for electricity production. Coal is the most abundant domestically produced conventional fuel source in the United States. In 2012, 2,026,798,000 pounds (1,013,399 thousand short tons) of coal were produced and (890,483 thousand short tons) were consumed in the United States alone (EIA, 2013a). Historically it has been mined for use in heating and supplying electricity across the nation. Considering the U.S. has the largest worldwide coal reserves, it provides a stable source of

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