As I’ve written about previously, global warming is of extreme importance to utilities because the phenomenon has increased the intensity of storm activity which, of course, has led to a higher frequency of service outages. Interestingly, MIT researchers have recently suggested that the best way to stop global warming is for China to start hydraulically fracking for natural gas – using the fracked natural gas to fuel power plants instead of coal.
Representatives of MIT’s Joint Program on the Policy of Global Change said China needs to replace as much coal-fueled electricity with natural gas-fueled power as possible to ease CO2 emissions, and if the country is unable to reach its 10% natural gas goal by 2020 (up from 6%), meeting its overall global warming targets will not be possible. And due to its relatively cheap costs, fracking in particular was cited as an excellent option for China to obtain the necessary supply of natural gas.
The MIT researchers noted that CO2 emissions in the U.S. have declined 12% in the last decade mainly due to fracking. Because fracking is cheap to do, fracked natural gas makes business sense as a replacement for coal, and hence utilities have been quick to adopt the practice. The researchers note that geologic conditions in China are not as conducive to fracking as here in the U.S., but even if China produces, say, 50% of the fracking output of the U.S., it’ll be a lot better than where they’re at now.
For more detail on the research and global warming, click here.