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Natural Gas - A Casualty of California's Renewable Energy Boom?

JackSawyer MA, United States 0 Ratings 23 Discussions 0 Group posts

Posted by: JackSawyer // Student

After California's 2000 and 2001 energy crisis the state decided to install natural gas plants to help support energy demands, as well as offer a somewhat cleaner and more environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels. However, with the fracking boom and rise of renewable energies, natural gas plants have been finding it difficult to adapt and compete in the new energy landscape. Renewables have caused energy prices to drop significantly, and subsequently, plants are struggling to stay afloat.

Natural gas companies like Rockland Capital and Calpine are now asking the state for support as they are at risk of shutting down. The companies argue that natural gas provides stability and reliability to the grid and this is true. Currently renewable energy sources like solar can only generate power in the right sunny conditions and so natural gas is used to balance out the energy needs when solar or wind are unable to meet them. If natural gas plants shut down California will lose an important safety net.

So what is the best solution to this problem? Well like renewable energies, and by request of the natural gas companies, the government could give subsidies to natural gas plants in order to keep them profitable and productive. But perhaps there are alternative backups to renewables we should consider investing in instead, like biofuels?

Groom, Nichola. "Unlikely Casualty in California's Renewable Energy Boom: Natural Gas." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 09 June 2016. Web. 10 June 2016. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-energy-analysis-idUSKCN0YV0BX>.

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