Letter "Natural gas will not be eclipsed by renewables" and Commentary

On October 29th, 2020, the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania newspaper The Citizens’ Voice published the following Letter to the Editor by Mr. David Spigelmyer:

Citizens’ Voice Editor: The Citizens’ Voice editorial board is right to say that natural gas and the technologies used to produce this game-changing resource has shifted America’s energy markets. (“Fracking’s fate with markets, Oct. 26).

This energy transformation continues to improve the lives of Pennsylvania consumers, our economy and our environment.

However, there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of energy technologies as well market dynamics to suggest that natural gas “will not survive”, as the paper writes, alongside the growth of wind and solar.

In reality, natural gas provides the critical and reliable baseload power that enables success of intermittent renewable energy forms. It’s not an either-or, rather it’s an interdependent partnership.

More, natural gas is also the fuel required to manufacture the steel, fiberglass, coatings and other components that make wind and solar possible.

Some regions of the country have gone “all in” to eliminate certain affordable and reliable energy forms like natural gas from their electricity mix as well as household use. But when government picks winners and losers, rather than encouraging free and fair competition, we always get more losers. Look no further than the self-induced rolling blackouts wreaking havoc across California’s economy.

Natural gas will continue to further reduce emissions while ensuring steady supplies of energy and electricity that can keep our economy moving, even on the coldest, darkest days. To suggest that natural gas is not and will not be the backbone of America’s energy outlook for generations to come is unserious. And hardworking Pennsylvanians know that.

Dave Spigelmyer, Marcellus Shale Coalition

Dr. Gordon Fulks, a Director of the CO2 Coalition, responded with his own Letter to the Editor to The Citizens’ Voice.

Dave Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, is correct that natural gas is the fuel of the future but wrong that it should be viewed as a compliment for renewables (wind and solar).  While the latter are today’s fashionable energy, they make no economic sense.  Not that “making sense” and “fashion” need go together in the short term, but they do in the long term.

Inefficient energy simply makes us notably poorer in the long run.  Why build two power plants (one with windmills and the other with natural gas) when one high efficiency natural gas turbine plant run continuously uses less fuel than a low efficiency but rapid-start natural gas thermal plant run intermittently?

Even those on the Lunatic Left should support using the least amount of natural gas to generate a kilowatt-hour of electricity, even if it means scraping all the windmills.  Gas turbine plants are about twice as efficient as rapid-start thermal plants.  With wind missing in action about 2/3 of the time (and therefore needing natural gas backup 2/3 of the time), less natural gas is needed when high efficiency turbine plants are constructed.

Hence, windmills and solar arrays serve no purpose, except to litter our landscapes and drive-up power prices.

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
Corbett, Oregon USA

Mr. Spigelmyer’s letter appeared on the Citizens’ Voice website at https://www.citizensvoice.com/opinion/letters/natural-gas-will-not-be-eclipsed-by-renewables/article_a79dfe57-eae3-52ef-920a-5abf7dfef6e7.html


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