As the boom in fracking wells in the northern Appalachian Marcellus shale region now produces seven times more natural gas (methane) than in 2010, the implications for policy and impacts on the energy market are starting to show.
There are many repercussions in this region that go along with supplying 20 percent of the gas produced in the continental U.S. However, in the past decade, sustainable energy supplies have also grown in similar amounts. Wind power in the U.S. grew seven times from 2006, U.S. solar increased 10 times since 2009, and customer-based demand response in the Northeast grew seven times from 2006. We enjoy an abundance of energy supplies, but which we choose will affect our health and the well-being of our communities.
A look at the gas boom
The market reaction to cheap gas is not all good. For example, during the January 2014 polar vortex, grid operator PJM saw 20 percent of electric power plants unable to produce. Many of those power plants burn natural gas. In the market, there is a dramatic rush to use gas to fuel electricity generation, which has relied on gas pipeline capacity that has not been expanded.
Cheap gas, and competition from demand-side responses, has led generators to cut corners, reducing staff and maintenance, says PJM. The negative impacts on reliability from over-reliance on natural gas have spread with the gas boom.Read the rest of this article by clicking here.
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