So while gas has been a bridge fuel away from coal and won't disappear tomorrow, it is a bridge that has to quickly end if we are to meet ambitious climate targets. Building new gas plants will not make much sense today if they will only be around for 15 years max. 23/
That said, if we were to ban gas extraction tomorrow, the short-term effects would be a large resurgence in coal generation. Remember, gas is still the main factor driving coal retirements, and we have a lot of coal plants running at ~50% capacity that could easily ramp up. 24/
So what should we do? Prioritize closing coal plants ASAP. Look really hard at building any new gas plants going forward. Pass clean electricity standard to increase share of clean generation even faster. Modernize our grid and build out storage to support more renewables. 25/
Right now gas plays an important role in our grid as its firm and dispatchable. Gas plants are cheap to build; most of their costs come from the gas they burn. This means that they can sit idle until the sun sets or the wind stops blowing and ramp up to fill in the gaps. 26/
To effectively replace gas, we need to get more firm clean generation on the grid (geothermal, advanced nuclear, gas with CCS), get cheaper energy storage, invest in higher capacity factor renewables like offshore wind, and modernize our grid to better balance intermittency. 27/
Gas will play an important role in allowing high amounts of renewables on the grid in the near term, but we need to avoid making it too much of a crutch going forward (at least barring cheap and effective CCS), as we will have to ultimately leave it behind to decarbonize. 28/
So while the symbolic debates around banning fracking (on federal land where little gas is produced) suck up a lot of oxygen, the reality is that we need to work to kill coal today and prepare for a gas-free (sans CCS) future a bit down the road. 29/
(Today I learned twitter limits you to 25 tweets per pre-written thread; TBH I'm rather surprised I never hit the limit before!)
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