Former US EIA Administrator: Municipal Natural Gas Bans Will Hurt Consumers, Lead to Higher Energy Costs

Bloomberg Law recently featured a piece by Guy Caruso, former Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, discussing the negative impacts of municipal natural gas bans, noting that it could cost up to $96 billion to convert natural gas homes to electricity.

Environmentalists are revving up the pressure on President Biden to induce zero-net emissions and 100% renewable energy sources in light of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that was released recently. Yet, as Caruso points out, their reckless race towards renewables comes with an incredibly high price tag that simultaneously ignores the realities of current energy demands.

Natural gas consumption is predicted to rise in 2021 due to the millions of Americans that rely on it for cooking, laundry, and heating their homes. Not only is natural gas reliable, it is also affordable in a time when Americans are trying to recover from one of the toughest economic years in American history. In short, households that use natural gas for cooking and heating save an average of $847 annually in comparison with households that use electricity. Moreover, businesses everywhere depend on the benefits that natural gas provides; Caruso writes over 5.4 million commercial customers rely on the gas switch to keep their companies running.

However, because of the glossy appearance of renewables, vocal environmentalists want to take our country in a direction that is simply not feasible nor affordable at this time. Caruso writes, “Unable to stop every pipeline project, they have targeted natural gas in a creative way—pushing for cities and states to prohibit natural gas hookups in new construction homes and buildings.”

State measures that ban or discourage the use of natural gas are becoming all too common. However, what these shortsighted local legislators aren’t looking at is the numbers:

“On average, the upgrades would cost around $2,000 per home, although the cost could go as high as $5,000 in some cases. When considering all 48 million homes that currently rely on natural gas in some capacity, the price tag for conversion would total $96 billion.”

Unbeknownst to most, natural gas actually has a critical role in helping achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, lowering carbon emissions as the U.S. power sector transitions from coal to natural gas-fired generation.

Caruso points to a recent Princeton University report that revealed that in order to achieve net-zero emissions, “the U.S. would need to set a lightning pace, investing a minimum of $2.5 trillion into clean energy over the next decade, putting 50 million electric cars on the highways and growing wind and solar generating capacity fourfold, among other initiatives. That’s a tall order for a nation trying to recover economically from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The fact of the matter is that clean energy doesn’t have the capacity nor cost-benefit to keep up with natural gas resources at the moment. Our country is in need of heightened energy development and infrastructure investment to support the our nation’s growing energy needs.

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