Appalachian Basin

Natural Gas Helps Pennsylvania Reach Clean Power Plan Goals

Clean, efficient natural gas helped Pennsylvania to already meet its Clean Power Plan goals, according to the head of the state’s environmental regulatory agency. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell said during a recent state hearing:

“We were already well on our way in large part – and have actually since met what were proposed [Clean Power Plan] goals – primarily because of the shift toward cleaner natural gas.”

The Appalachian Basin – Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia – have led the United States in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in recent years, while simultaneously bolstering natural gas production. The region alone accounted for 18 percent of total U.S. carbon emissions reductions and 21.5 percent of total U.S. carbon emissions reductions for electricity generation from 2005 to 2015, according to the most recent Energy Information Administration data.

Pennsylvania is the nation’s second largest producer of natural gas and is projected to produce nearly 31.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily in February, according to EIA. As McDonnell noted, this abundance of natural gas has enabled the commonwealth to transition to greater natural gas use for electricity generation. The state has seen natural gas grow from representing less than 5 percent of electricity generation in 2005 to more than 36 percent of the state’s electricity mix today, according to EIA. The electric sector consumes roughly half of all natural gas used in the state.

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