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Role of natural gas in meeting an electric sector emissions reduction strategy and effects on greenhouse gas emissions
Lenox, C. AND O. Kaplan. Role of natural gas in meeting an electric sector emissions reduction strategy and effects on greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Economics. Elsevier B.V., Amsterdam, Netherlands, 60:460-468, (2016).
Article presents summary of results from an analyses of natural gas resource availability and power sector emissions reduction strategies under different estimates of methane leakage rates during natural gas extraction and production. This was study was undertaken as part of the Energy Modeling Forum Study #31: "North American natural gas markets in transition."
With advances in natural gas extraction technologies, there is an increase in availability of domestic natural gas, and natural gas is gaining a larger share of use as a fuel in electricity production. At the power plant, natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel than coal, but uncertainties exist in the amount of methane leakage occurring upstream in the extraction and production of natural gas. At high leakage levels, these methane emissions could outweigh the benefits of switching from coal to natural gas. This analysis uses the MARKAL linear optimization model to compare the carbon emissions profiles and system-wide global warming potential of the U.S. energy system over a series of model runs in which the power sector is asked to meet a specific CO2 reduction target and the availability of natural gas changes. Scenarios are run with a range of upstream methane emission leakage rates from natural gas production. While the total CO2 emissions are reduced in most scenarios, total greenhouse gas emissions show an increase or no change when both natural gas availability and methane emissions from natural gas production are high.
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