Restructuring of the electric industry "is not an impediment" for the natural gas industry, according to Paul Holtberg of the Gas Research Institute. Just make sure to distinguish between restructuring's evolution, or transition period, and the post-transition period, he adds.
The just-released 1998 edition of GRI's "Baseline Projection of U.S. Energy Supply and Demand" envisions that while near-term (three to five year) demand may suffer (while coal will likely benefit), natural gas will profit in the long term, as it becomes a "strong competitor for new capacity and generation."
GRI predicts that between 1995 and 2015, electric power generation will account for an increased consumption of 3.8 quads (em with 3.4 of that post-2000. (A quad is a quadrillion Btu.) Total delivered gas demand for all applications (em power generation, industrial non-cogeneration, appliances, L&P/pipeline, space heating/cooling and natural gas vehicles (em is predicted to increase from 22.2 quads in 1995 to 31.8 quads by 2015.
The "Baseline Projection" identifies two other key energy market issues that will affect continued growth of natural gas use: emissions regulation and gas supply. The second issue is being viewed differently today than it was 20 years ago, according to GRI, with supply no longer a resource question. "There are more places to look than we've already looked," Holtberg told reporters at a Washington, D.C. briefing. "The question now is, 'If I want to depend on natural gas as an energy source, how much can be produced, and at what price?'" (em LMR
Lori A. Burkhart is an associate legal editor with PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY. Lori M. Rodgers is an associate editor.
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