Ohio Natural Gas Plants Outpacing Coal
With nearly a dozen natural gas power plants in development or recently commissioned across Ohio, the state is closing in on 10,000 MW of new generating capacity.
Because natural gas beats coal on cheap electric rates, efficiency, and emissions, the new plants are set to shake up the market in Ohio. As aging coal and nuclear plants struggle to compete in the market without assistance, natural gas companies look to seize the opportunity to fuel Ohio and give energy consumers more choice in their energy source.
Does more natural gas mean lower energy prices?
Looking at supply, cost, and efficiency, natural gas may be the best energy option in Ohio. The Marcellus and Utica shale, which spans across northeastern Ohio into neighboring states, produces about 26.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, nearly 10 times the amount required by power plants developing in the region. Comparing energy prices apples-to-apples, natural gas fueled electricity is significantly cheaper than coal. New natural gas plants will operate at peak efficiency while aging coal plants struggle to make a profit.
With more natural gas in the market, all signs point to lower Ohio energy rates.
Coal companies struggle against the market.
Companies that rely on decades-old coal and nuclear plants for the electric supply have been in financial trouble for years. Coal-heavy power company FirstEnergy has lobbied for a bailout since 2014. In 2016, the PUCO finally approved their request to the tune of $600M paid by customers through new bill fees. The company has already collected over $150M.
Energy consumers looking to lower their electric bills aren’t happy to be paying for an energy company’s financial issues. If state governments prop up old, failing coal plants, newer efficient natural gas plants may face a harder time entering the market.
Will natural gas provide clean energy for Ohio?
In terms of carbon emissions, natural gas is about 50% cleaner than coal, which is a win for green energy in Ohio. However, natural gas is mainly methane, a greenhouse gas that traps 34 times more heat than carbon dioxide. Leaks in natural gas pipelines and storage facilities are extremely detrimental to the environment. Some environmentalists argue leaking pipelines maybe even more damaging than a coal power plant. Hydraulic fracturing, the process used to access natural gas reserves, also has environmental costs that include water pollution and links to increased earthquake activity.
Follow energy prices to find a cheap electric rate.
There is no doubt the energy market in Ohio is shifting. But staying informed about the Ohio energy market doesn’t have to be complicated. With Ohio Energy Ratings, you can easily keep an eye on prices from major competitors, compare cheap electric rates, and find the best energy supplier.