Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy wipe out unreliable sources of energy, but natural gas keeps the lights on even during the harshest storms. Thomas G. Bourgeois, deputy director of Pace University’s Energy and Climate Center, stated that “gas fired district systems… are an ally, not a foe, of renewables” and that in planning for a more reliable energy grid during natural disasters, we must invest in “combined heat and power” units which includes natural gas as part of the mix. The New York Times, with agreement from Bourgeois, noted that natural gas lines were crucial in keeping the lights on in certain parts of NYC during Hurricane Sandy.
Just this winter, New York experienced a shortage of natural gas supply that led to a dramatic spike in energy prices. Many utilities turned to coal and oil to generate electricity as the price of natural gas surged. By building more natural gas infrastructure and including natural gas in NY's energy mix, New York can harness an abundant supply of domestically-produced energy that will keep costs low. Furthermore, when Indian Point Energy Center shutters in 2021, about 25% of the downstate region’s energy supply will disappear. Natural gas can help to fill this huge gap.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has pledged to reach 50% in-state renewable energy generation by 2030 – a goal we can only reach by using natural gas, the cleanest non-renewable energy source that will drastically cut carbon emissions. This reduction in carbon emissions will also result in cleaner air – something all New Yorkers can benefit from.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average cost of winter heating bills is reduced by roughly 40% when using natural gas instead of heating oil. The cost increase between natural gas and heating oil will only widen between now and 2020.