TexasIsHot – Energy Efficiency

Natural Gas

Basics

Natural gas, a fossil fuel comprised mostly of methane, can be used in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel cars and trucks.

(LNG) is natural gas that has been cooled to about -260°F for shipment and/or storage as a liquid. In this compact form, natural gas can be shipped in special tankers to receiving terminals in the United States and other importing countries.

Hydraulic fracturing of shale rock formations is a new technology used to extract natural gas by pumping liquids under high pressure into a well to fracture the rock and allow gas to escape from tiny pockets in the rock.

Natural-gas-fueled power plants basically involves three main sections. The compressor, which draws air into the engine, pressurizes it, and feeds it to the combustion chamber at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour. The combustion system injects a steady stream of fuel into combustion chambers where it mixes with the air. The combustion produces a high temperature, high pressure gas stream that enters and expands through the turbine section, which spins the rotating blades. A recuperator often captures waste heat in the turbine exhaust system to preheat the compressor discharge air before it enters the combustion chamber.

Power plants use several methods to convert gas to electricity. One method is to burn the gas in a boiler to produce steam, which is then used by a steam turbine to generate electricity. A more common approach is to burn the gas in a combustion turbine to generate electricity. Another technology is called “combined cycle” and achieves a higher efficiency by using the same fuel source twice.

Opportunities

  • Nearly 87% of U.S. natural gas used is domestically produced. Some is imported from Canada and shipped to the United States in pipelines.
  • Hydraulic fracturing is a new technique used in conjunction with horizontal drilling, which enables gas producers to extract shale gas economically and has greatly reduced the amount of area that has to be disturbed to produce each cubic foot of natural gas.
  • Its abundance and ease of extraction in the U.S. makes it inexpensive.
  • We can also use machines called “digesters” that turn today’s organic material into natural gas. This process replaces waiting for millions of years for the gas to form naturally.
  • It can be used to power vehicles.
  • It emits 60-90% less smog-producing pollutants than other fossil fuels.
  • Natural gas emits 30-40% less greenhouse gas emissions than other fossil fuels.

Challenges

  • Natural gas is a nonrenewable resource.
  • Natural gas is made up mostly of methane, which is a very potent greenhouse gas. Some methane leaks into the atmosphere from coalmines, oil and gas wells, and natural gas storage tanks, pipelines, and processing plants.
  • The process of extraction, treatment, and transport of the natural gas to the power plant generates additional emissions.
  • Without using controversial hydraulic fracturing techniques, natural gas does not flow to the well rapidly, and commercial quantities cannot be produced economically.
  • The fracturing of wells requires large amounts of water. In some areas of the country, significant use of water for shale gas production may affect the availability of water for other uses, and can affect aquatic habitats. Hydrofracturing also produces large amounts of wastewater, which may contain dissolved chemicals and other contaminants that require treatment before disposal or reuse.
  • The injection of wastewater into the subsurface can cause earthquakes that are large enough to be felt and may cause damage.

Future Trends

U.S. natural gas production and consumption were nearly in balance through 1986. After that, consumption began to outpace production, and imports of natural gas rose to meet U.S. demand for the fuel. Production increased from 2006 through 2010, when it reached the highest recorded annual total since 1973. The increases in production were the result of more efficient, cost-effective drilling techniques, notably in the production of natural gas from shale formations.

Texas’ natural gas marketed production was 30% as of 2010.

About 25% of energy used in the United States came from natural gas in 2010. The United States used 24.64 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in 2010.

Testimonials
  • "“As the Texas population continues to grow, so will our energy consumption needs. We must have tools that empower the consumer to choose their products and monitor their usage wisely. TexasIsHot.org is a great resource, which is exactly what Texans need in today’s deregulated market.”" - State Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton), Chairman of House State Affairs Committee
  • "In order to meet our goals, we need programs like the TexasIsHot campaign to help change the way people think about energy." - State Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), Chairman of Senate Natural Resources Committee
  • "Texas leads the nation in wind power because it makes money, not because it makes us feel better. Texans are a practical, penny-wise people who I think will be happy to learn how to save a few bucks on their power bills with the common-sense advice at TexasIsHot.org."-Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office
  • "If every Texas household adopted just a few of the dozens of energy efficiency strategies referenced on TexasIsHot.org, our air would be cleaner, our limited supply of natural resources would be better protected, and our wallets would be heavier..." Kip Averitt (R-Waco), Former State Senator and Chairman of Senate Committee on Natural Resources
  • ”The TexasIsHot campaign targets an important piece of the clean energy effort -- educating Texans on the way we use electricity and quantifying the financial and environmental costs associated with our use. By just reducing the amount of electricity we use and waste, TexasIsHot.org can show people how to save money..." State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin)
  • "Fluctuating energy costs are really hurting Texas families and businesses, but by just making a few easy changes, Texans can cut down on energy waste. TexasIsHot.org is a tremendous resource which arms consumers with the information they need to save themselves money by becoming more energy efficient, and help our environment." State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston)
  • "Texas is the third fastest growing state in the nation with a net growth of 1,000 people each and every day. This brings many challenges including providing clean and affordable electricity. That is why I'm excited about TexasIsHot.org. This website is an instructional resource that will help Texans save on their energy bills at home and in the workplace..." State Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford)
  • "Now, more than ever, Texans need to work together to conserve energy and to make more efficient use of the energy we consume. The TexasIsHot.org website is an extraordinary resource for people who want to save money and help conserve our precious natural resources..." State Rep. Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas)
  • "By partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition we can extend our effort’s reach, leverage our resources, and ensure that Austin’s energy grid continues to be a test-bed for technologies, products, and services that will transform our state’s energy system." Brewster McCracken, Executive Director, Pecan Street Project
  • "The City of Houston is working harder than ever to make Houston green and energy efficient, but we need the help of every citizen. I would encourage everyone to take a moment to explore the TexasIsHot website to learn what we can all do to make Houston, and the rest of Texas, the green and energy efficient example for the rest of the nation." Mayor Annise Parker, Houston
  • "Energy efficiency is one of our top priorities. Partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition will help us educate citizens and local businesses about energy-efficient practices in order to meet our goal of reducing residential and commercial electric use." Gavin Dillingham, Chief of Sustainable Growth – General Services Department, for the City of Houston
  • "We are excited about the new partnership that the City of Corpus Christi has entered into with the TexasIsHot Coalition. TexasIsHot.org provides a platform to educate policy makers, city employees and citizens on how to save money and help the environment by conserving energy..." Mayor Joe Adame, Corpus Christi
  • "I am excited that the City of Corpus Christi has joined the TexasIsHot Coalition and look forward to working with them to help Texans become smarter energy users. Energy efficiency is by far the best way for people to reduce their bills and help the environment, but we need education and outreach to make this happen." State Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr (D-Corpus Christi)
  • "Because of its fast growth and hot summers, Texas has to get smarter about energy conservation. I applaud the efforts of Corpus Christi and TexasIsHot to help businesses and residents reap the benefits of increased efficiency." Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
  • "Energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest and cheapest way to get smart about energy use, saving both money and the environment. I applaud the TexasIsHot Coalition in their effort to educate Texans about the benefits of energy efficiency..." Luke Metzger, Director, Environment Texas
Get Connected

Enter your email address and receive tips and helpful info from Texasishot.org