Clean-burning natural gas is a safe and abundant source of energy that has been used for power generation and home heating across North America for generations.
As the cleanest-burning hydrocarbon, natural gas reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) and other emissions when it replaces other fossil fuels as a necessary source of energy for electrical power generation, heating and transportation. For example, latest-generation natural gas power generation plants are highly efficient and produce 50 percent fewer GHG emissions than coal-generated plants. For more information see CAPP Upstream Dialogue, The Facts On Natural Gas, 2012.
Significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions since the early 2000’s in Canada and the United States are widely attributed to using natural gas as a replacement for coal in electrical power generation plants in North America (Environment Canada, IEA).
Recent advances in drilling and completion technologies dramatically increased the size of the commercially viable natural gas resource in North America, positioning natural gas as the best available alternative to coal-fired electrical generation not only in North America but around the world.
Large liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities, some of which are close to final investment decisions, are designed to export abundant Western Canadian natural gas. Most of this exported gas would be used to displace coal as a fuel for power generation in other parts of the world. Natural gas accounted for around 23% of global electricity production in 2012, an increase of 5% of the total share since 2000 while the use of nuclear for power generation decreased by 6% over the same period. In 2012 at least 40% of global power generation used coal as a fuel and it is widely believed that rising access to natural gas will displace coal as a fuel for power generation.
Since it is such an abundant and relatively inexpensive source of power, natural gas also has the potential to propel a renaissance of environmentally responsible manufacturing.
Low-emission CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) engine technologies have been successfully deployed as economically viable fuels for transportation. Natural gas engines have 15 to 30 percent fewer GHG emissions than diesel-powered trucks and buses. The City of Calgary’s public bus system has committed to building a fleet of CNG-powered buses after its successful pilot program.
Over recent years, LNG engine technologies have gained increasing traction as a lower-impact, economical replacement for diesel in high-horsepower applications on land and at sea around the world.
The abundance of natural gas is a valuable gift, allowing us to build a prosperous and clean future together.