A Community Conversation on Natural Gas

Over the past few months, the Marcellus Shale Coalition asked Pennsylvanians their questions about natural gas development.
This website will answer those questions straightforwardly and honestly.

Q: Why not invest in Wind and Solar Energy and leave Oil and Natural Gas’s dirty practices to the Cavemen?

Access to affordable, reliable forms of energy are key to a strong, growing and prosperous economy. From manufacturing to transportation to providing a reliable and efficient means to power our homes and businesses, natural gas is a key and growingly important component of our domestic energy portfolio. Wind and solar also play a critical role, and often rely on natural gas as a backup source to provide consumers with power when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. Additionally, natural gas is a key feedstock in the manufacturing of solar panels and wind mill blades.

And consider these facts, according to one study:

  • With each wellhead capable of producing gas from up to 12 wells, or about 50 billion cubic feet over 25 years, the output of one drilling pad is equivalent to the average output of about 47 giant 2.5MW wind turbines (which also last about 25 years), and is continuous rather than unpredictable and intermittent. Yet the footprint of a shale gas drilling derrick (about 6 acres) is only a little larger than the forest clearance necessary for a single wind turbine (4 acres), requires vastly less concrete per kilowatt-hour, stands one-third as tall and is present for just 30 days instead of 25 years. Additionally, gas drilling rigs have not been known to kill birds of prey or have any other impacts on wildlife, whereas wind farms kill tens of thousands of birds of prey annually.
  • Unlike solar power, shale gas works even at night and on cloudy days. It can be stored cheaply in underground salt caverns, whereas storage of solar electricity is impossibly expensive. It produces electricity at about one-third the cost of solar power and it is found closer to large customer concentrations than the deserts where solar power is most efficient. None the less, abundant gas may prove to be the friend rather than the rival of solar power, because unlike coal and nuclear power it can be powered up and down quickly and efficiently.
  • Likewise, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who is poised to be the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has made this important point clear: “This is what I tell environmental folks: Natural gas is really important to a lot of renewables, solar and wind, ensuring that option is out there.”

As you may know, our region has a deep history of energy production, and the natural gas industry looks forward to raising the bar further and more producing more American natural gas in a way that’s safe, that continues to create jobs and helps to put our nation on stronger footing in the global economy.

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