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With natural gas prices at such low levels many people are attracted to focussing on natural gas to supply the majority of US energy, believing that the domestically produced product will protect them from global oil price fluctuations, and ensure energy security in the future. However focussing on one source of energy unbalances the US energy sector and puts the economy at risk in the long term.
Energy policies must take a long term view and promote fuel diversity rather than choose a favourite energy technology to support. An energy strategy that focuses on low cost, low carbon electricity sources, that will reduce dependency on foreign fuel sources and promote clean electricity, can encourage long term economic growth.
Natural gas prices may be low at the moment, but they have a volatile history. Back in the 1990’s they were stable and low, but in the mid 2000’s the prices soared to record high levels.
The current natural gas market is vulnerable, and the low prices are not guaranteed. The present oversupply in the US means that the prices are 2-3 times lower than across the rest of the world. This difference allows for US gas producers to export their product for huge profits; but as demand around the world increases, gas prices in the US will start to align with the world prices.
Nuclear is just one of the options that can help protect US consumers from potential spikes in natural gas prices. It is cheap, doesn’t release carbon emissions, predictable, and efficient. Wind turbines and solar panels are amongst other energy sources that should be included in a successful energy policy.
Kevin Marsh, president and CEO of Columbia, S.C.-based SCANA, said a balanced energy portfolio is best. “You don't want to be all gas, all nuclear or all coal.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com