Will natural gas-fired plants be phased out soon?
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas, and even coal, will have a significant role in generation well past the forecast’s range. Natural gas and coal are dispatchable assets, meaning their output can be adjusted to meet the electrical grid’s changing needs. While the share of natural gas and coal-fired generation is expected to continue a decline, they are still expected to be needed to balance the load on the grid due to intermittent renewable resources.US electricity generation forecasts through 2050 show renewables continuing to grow (21% in 2020 growing to 42% in 2050). It also shows dispatchable, baseload generation from fossil fuel still playing a majority role in the US energy portfolio for decades to come – natural gas (36% in 2050), coal (11% in 2050) and nuclear (11% in 2050). This graph from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (2021) and offers an outlook for future energy use.
MPW’s plan to increase its renewables with local solar, transition from coal-fired to cleaner burning natural-gas fired generation, and leave a portion of its energy portfolio open allows MPW to invest in additional renewables or cleaner technologies as costs come down and technologies further develop.