By FJavier GómezL. Wind turbine in El Andévalo, Spain’s largest wind farm, on July 24, 2020, CCA-SA 4.0 International, via Wikimedia Commons.


Enthusiasts argue that by replacing fossil fuels with renewables, such as solar and wind, we can achieve a rapid, affordable, and sustainable reduction in carbon emissions. But their argument rests upon suppressed premises. Some haven’t quite thought these premises through—or thought about them at all.

“Assumptions are made,” remarked Albert Einstein, “and most assumptions are wrong.” He would have known.

We all make and act on assumptions, because life is experimental by nature. Assumptions underpin theories without which we couldn’t function. But assumptions need scrutiny, from time to time, and I’ve noticed that many people’s assumptions about how best to transition to low-carbon energy, in particular, are careless.

Let me start by specifying my own assumptions. I am a geoscientist who sees the climate as a marvelous, complex system of planetary feedback loops and mechanisms that act on many different timescales, from decades to millennia. I assume, having seen persuasive historical evidence, that these mechanisms are ultimately driven by the Earth’s interaction with the Sun. I assume these have dominated this planet’s climate cycles throughout its history. I assume, too, that concerns about the climate will drive energy policy, in the West, at least. I am deliberately agnostic here about whether these concerns are well-founded: I simply assume they will drive policy.

Although below I discuss only natural gas and liquified natural gas (LNG), the dominance of oil in the global energy mix causes me to assume that the world will, and must, continue to use significant volumes of oil in the coming decades—a necessity impervious to ideology of any stripe.

In pondering the inevitable energy transition, I’ve asked how best to achieve a rapid, affordable, and ultimately sustainable reduction in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. I’ve noticed three assumptions, in particular, driving much public discourse. These assumptions often involve suppressed premises of their own. Many people, particularly those who seek a green energy transition powered solely or at least predominantly by renewables, are unaware, or at least seem unaware, of some or all of these premises. So I’ve spelled out them out below, and tried to do so as fairly as I can. I’ve also asked whether these premises are correct, and whether, when clearly spelled out, they still seem wholly rational.


Proponents of electrifying everything are unalarmed by the spasmodic nature of wind and solar. They assume the right kind of electrical transmission system will buffer this intermittency.

To assume this usually requires, in turn, assuming that during times of excess generation, electricity can be stored in this vastly expanded transmission system, then moved where it’s needed, taking advantage of time zone shifts in peak demand. For example, if demand peaks in the east of the Americas between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm, solar, wind, and hydroelectric power from the west would promptly be moved across this interconnected grid.

But seasonal changes in the length of the day and lack (or excess) of wind could challenge these assumptions. Excess that can’t be sold would just be curtailed. And even if these assumptions hold true, it would reduce, but not eliminate, the need for new energy storage solutions such as grid-scale batteries, flow batteries, pumped hydroelectricity, and (if utility and reliability are properly weighted) just-in-time solutions like natural-gas-fired power plants.

By Peter Balcerzak. Frozen power lines in Toronto, Ontario, December 2013, CCA-SA3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Electrify-everything advocates tend also to assume grid interconnections will work in both directions and smart grids will be deployed widely. They may not fully appreciate how much it will cost to build the transmission infrastructure we’d need to run every device that now runs on fossil fuels. What’s more, we’ll need more power to keep pace with economic growth.

The closest thing I’ve seen to a precise cost estimate is a paper, commissioned by the Canadian Gas Association, that assesses how much this transition would cost in Canada. Even this study makes many favorable assumptions about the cost and timing of electrification technology, and it still doesn’t tally the full cost of building the transmission infrastructure required for total electrification.

A quarter of the fossil-fueled industrial energy that we use now comes from gas-fired plants. The Canadian Gas Association study assumes, reasonably, that significant assets like these plants, and about 75 percent of our trucks, will be used until the end of their lifespans. Retiring them early would increase the cost of the transition.

Their estimate of the cost of Canada’s energy transition between now and 2050 depends on the scenario. In one scenario, we continue to use a hybrid of renewables, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. In another, we use only renewables. Even with the favorable inbuilt assumptions I’ve described, they reckon that the transition, in the hybrid scenario, would cost C$580 billion (US$472 billion, at today’s exchange rate). In the second scenario, it would cost C$1,370 billion (US$1,115,830).

They estimate, too, that the cost of upgrading transmissions would range from C$84 billion in the hybrid scenario to C$227 billion in the all-renewables scenario. (US$68.4 billion and US$185 billion, respectively.)

If this proposal is to work at all, four assumptions must hold true: First, power will be available, somewhere, when it’s needed, and we can get it where it’s needed most of the time. Second, the transmission infrastructure we need can be built quickly and affordably. Third, power will generally be available at a reasonable cost. And finally, consumers will be willing to adapt their power consumption habits, using power at times when enough of it is available.

None of this is quite certain.


Many green energy advocates reject the idea that natural gas and LNG should contribute to lowering GHG emissions, even though the replacement of coal by natural gas is the major reason a number of countries’ emissions, including those of the United States, have declined since the mid-2000s.

Trans-oceanic electricity transmission is generally infeasible, although a 4,000 km “Sun Cable” from Australia to Singapore is in the works. There are only two real options for the global transport of lower-carbon energy: LNG, whose global distribution network has been built over decades, or hydrogen, probably in the form of ammonia. I would argue that the value of LNG in reducing emissions is proven, so clearly it should be part of the transition, particularly if it displaces coal in Asia. Why, then, do so many green energy advocates resist it? Here we must look, again, at their assumptions.

The first is that fossil fuels drive global CO2 emissions, directly causing global warming of unprecedented rapidity. Unless checked, the planet will experience catastrophic and possibly irreversible warming. This, they hold, is an existential crisis for humanity, avoidable only by phasing out fossil fuels globally.

Second, they assume the electrification of society, powered by renewables, can and must replace the use of fossil fuels in transport, power, heating, industry, and agriculture. They assume the transition from one to the other must be well underway by 2050 to avert disaster. They assume this means starting today. Indeed, some governments have already mandated that vehicles powered by internal combustion engines must be phased out and replaced by vehicles that run on electric batteries or hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

Finally, they assume that by promoting cleaner fossil fuels such as natural gas or LNG, we only delay the inevitable. They make the same assumptions about making hydrogen from natural gas, even if we were to couple this with carbon capture and storage.

These assumptions lead us right to the Big One.


Underlying this is the assumption that the danger of anthropogenic global warming should cause us to reject fossil fuels of every species. Usually, the following suite of policy prescriptions go along with this assumption: We should levy aggressive carbon taxes designed to render fossil fuels uncompetitive with renewables. We should levy carbon tariffs on imported goods to ensure no one moves their carbon-intensive industries and manufacturing to countries where they won’t be taxed so heavily; failing that, consumers might decide to pay less money for goods made by the atmospherically irresponsible. Subsidies for fossil fuels should end, and governments should stop lending money to industries based on them.

I am deliberately agnostic about these assumptions, but I note that renewable technologies—solar panels and wind turbines, in particular—rely upon rare earths. China, however, has amassed about 80 percent of the global capacity to process strategic minerals. Cobalt is a critical part of lithium-ion batteries. In 2019, the Democratic Republic of Congo accounted for more than 70 percent of global cobalt output, and Chinese state-owned enterprises controlled almost all of these exports.

I wonder: Would the tariffs in question apply to essential feedstock materials and finished goods from China? If not, they wouldn’t serve their purpose; if they did, they’d badly damage industry and manufacturing in countries with a carbon tax.

Another assumption I often discern is the idea that renewable-energy technologies produce zero emissions. This is not true. It takes energy from fossil fuels to mine, process, manufacture, and transport the components of renewable energy plants. (Also, hydroelectric dams drown large, forested areas and their carbon-sequestering trees.)

The term energy return means energy output minus the energy input. A source is energy positive if puts out more power than it takes to generate it. Wind power, if it runs 30 percent of the time, becomes energy positive six months to a year after it’s installed. Solar photovoltaic power takes longer—about two years, depending on the technology and where the panels are located.

It’s harder to quantify the environmental impact of wind turbines and solar panels. But it’s considerable, and will probably limit the popularity and expansion of renewables considerably.

That efficiency trumps utility is another common assumption. Undeniably, it’s more efficient to run things directly with electricity than by chemical storage and combustion. A car with an internal combustion engine converts about 20 percent of the gasoline’s energy into wheelpower; an electric car, by contrast, converts about 60 percent of its energy from the grid. The old-fashioned cars gobble up about three times more energy per kilometer.

That said, the efficiency of electric vehicles depends upon factors such as grid reliability. This suffers when a larger percentage of intermittent renewable power is added to the mix. Absent government intervention to force the pace, the speed of the penetration of the electric vehicle market will depend how well the batteries perform under extreme temperature conditions (such as the Canadian deep-freeze of February 2021), the ease of recharging and the time it takes, and the cost of the cars.


The electricity-only scenario generally leaves these assumptions unexamined or glosses them over. But they are, in my view, critical and deleterious. This is why, in my view, such a transition can’t and won’t happen quickly absent significant government intervention.

Dirigiste policies at the national and international level tend to have a dramatic and deeply damaging economic impact. In this case, it may be one from which it is difficult to recover. The slide of prosperous Western nations from plentiful energy and economic abundance to less energy and comparative poverty—even as China and the developing world move in the opposite direction—poses a real and grave threat. This threat must be considered if all things are considered.

In light of this, I propose the following strategy for a low-carbon energy transition. In my opinion it is achievable, desirable, and rational.

First, we should pursue piped natural gas and LNG, because these lower-carbon energy sources may be exported globally. Natural gas is much in demand in growing Asian economies. It’s also greatly profitable in ours. In Canada alone, 115,000 km of pipelines transport natural gas and natural gas liquids. We have 450,000 km of natural gas distribution lines. Together, this is more than fifteen times the length of Canada’s highways. We could mix hydrogen into the system, beginning by adding 10 to 20 percent by volume, without significantly modifying our appliances—and this would further lower emissions.

Second, we should use hydrogen to help us deal with the intermittency of renewables. All new pipelines and utility infrastructure should be designed and built H2-capable.

Third, we should indeed focus on reducing air pollutants and greenhouse gasses such as nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide. But we need not reduce these by focusing entirely on renewables. If we reduce them by replacing coal with LNG, or mixing hydrogen with natural gas, they’ll be reduced, and reduced is our goal—not dead broke and under China’s thumb.

Finally—and this is dear to my heart—we should ramp up research and pilot programs for nuclear fusion. That would be the true, zero-emission, game-changing technology.

Gareth Lewis is a geologist and 30 year veteran of the oil and gas industry who owns a small technical consulting company. He has broad scientific interests that include hydrogen and nuclear fusion. He fully supports his industry, but sees the need for a new energy paradigm—one that includes hydrocarbons, hydrogen, renewables, and probably nuclear.


  1. Ronald STEENBLIK | April 30, 2021 at 5:13 pm | Reply

    I’d only add a word to the end of the title: “Why we can’t electrify everything … Yet”. I think eventually the world will (counting hydrogen as, essentially, “liquid electricity”), or at least 90% of energy use that currently is not electrified.

    • Monique Camarra | April 30, 2021 at 5:46 pm | Reply

      I was listening to someone we know who was saying the same.

    • I think that we’ll get there too Ron, and agree that it’s going to take longer than most policy makers think. Hydrogen will be big, but it will most usefully build on the LNG model in terms of developing global reach. We are going to need nuclear fusion.

  2. Is this strategic agnosticism? Or is it belief in proportion to evidence?

    • I like to think of it as pragmatic agnosticism ?. Scientists like Dr. X who have forgotten more than I’ll ever know about climate, consider that AGW is indeed occurring. Besides, regardless of what I might think on the matter, climate concerns are, and will continue to drive energy policy in the West. I consider my time and energy to be much better spent in trying to nudge the conversation towards a focus on achievable, near term reductions in global GHG emissions, regardless of the source of the reductions.

  3. Gareth implicitly shows that the 5 billion people in developing countries will not be able to pay the cost of transitioning completely away from fossil fuels any time soon. The needed “government intervention” will occur in the U.S. and EU, but their GHG output is already declining. Also, the world’s population is projected to begin declining in 2050, helping reduce the GHG production, and indeed that decline poses a major global economic challenge.

    • Claire Berlinski | May 1, 2021 at 5:12 am | Reply

      It’s all exceptionally complex. This is why we felt this subject required more than a single article, and I’m very glad we’ve done it this way: I’ve learned a great deal from the submissions and the comments. Above all, that this is really complex.

  4. I am going to push back on Owen in a friendly but somewhat vigorous manner.

    First, three of the four largest provinces in Canada, Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia already have very clean electric grids unlike say most of the US or Germany. So given these jurisdictions have a relative abundance of clean electricity I don’t see any good reasons not to move further down the road of electrification. Thus say funding from the Federal government of Canada to electrify the commuter rail networks of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver all makes a lot of sense as do increased incentives for electric vehicles.

    Now of course there is the “fourth” province of Canada that is Alberta which is where Owen lives and works. Alberta’s electricity grid is emitting 22 times as many CO2 emissions as Ontario which is shall we say a really big problem for that particular province made even worse that Alberta considerably smaller than BC, Ontario, and Quebec combined and can easily be “outvoted” in Canada’s Federal political system.


    Second, while Owen talks about nuclear fusion, Ontario, Canada’s largest province while having some very large hydro facilities such as in Niagara Falls is also the world’s second most nuclear-dependent jurisdiction in the world. Yet the oil and gas industry in Canada and Alberta, in particular, has never been particularly enthusiastic towards nuclear power viewing Federal support from Ottawa towards the industry as just being pork directed towards vote-rich Ontario. Yet Alberta itself has had little interest over decades in building nuclear power plants itself sitting on a sea of gas, oil, and coal thus essentially seeding to Ontario the main base of the nuclear industry in Canada.

    So if I heard more enthusiasm from Owen about keeping the existing nuclear fleet in Ontario going(such as the Pickering Plant outside of Toronto) and building new fission-based reactors either in Ontario, Alberta, or preferably both I would treat Owen’s viewpoint with a bit more enthusiasm myself. In Canada’s political system nuclear power is basically a joint Federal/provincial enterprise so if people In Alberta said Canada as a country needs to keep the Pickering plant operating that actually has an impact Canada-wide. Yet again I have never heard much enthusiasm coming out of Alberta for this idea. You sometimes get the feeling Alberta wants Pickering to close so they can sell more natural gas to Ontario.

    • Ronald STEENBLIK | April 30, 2021 at 6:29 pm | Reply

      Gareth, not Owen. 🙂

    • Hi Tim, I couldn’t reply until now, so apologies for not getting to this sooner. You make some good points, which I’ll attempt to address, as briefly as possible! Much of Canada does indeed have a very clean electric grid, given the country’s rich water resources. About 60% of Canada’s power is hydro, 15% is nuclear, renewables (wind and solar) sit at 7%, and fossil fuels (mostly AB) at 18%, with the majority of this now NG rather than coal. It’s important to make a distinction here between hydro as a renewable, and wind and solar as renewables. Hydro, particularly in Canada, is a ‘dispatchable’ power source – able to supply power when needed, much like nuclear and NG. Wind and solar, on the other hand, are intermittent sources. No sun, no wind, no power. I consider it highly unlikely that any more large hydro projects will be built in Canada anytime soon. B.C.’s Site ‘C’ dam, for example, is on track to take 15 years to complete, at a cost of some $20B, considerably beyond initial estimates for both time and cost. Also, hydro projects are, in their own way, environmental disasters, so any future proposals for such projects are likely to face stiff public opposition. This means that electrifying things which are dependent on fossil fuels, like most vehicles, and using renewables to supply the extra power needed, will mean depending on intermittent power sources. In every jurisdiction worldwide for which I have been able to find reliable data, moving to a higher (say >30% of the grid) percentage of intermittent power has increased electricity costs, due to the need to maintain sufficient dispatchable power (generally coal- or NG-fired) to stabilize the grid, and also to the need to increase transmission, for the purpose of moving intermittent power around to where it is needed. South Australia, Germany and California would all be good examples of this trend. Alberta lacks the hydro resources that many other provinces have, and we don’t have nuclear (more on this shortly), but we are scheduled to complete the switchover from coal-fired to NG-fired power by 2023, 7 years ahead of schedule, with about a 50% reduction in our emissions from power generation.
      Now, to nuclear! I did mention it briefly in my article, and for reasons similar to big hydro (time, cost and public opposition) I consider it unlikely that any more large nuclear (fission) plants will be built in Canada anytime soon, if ever. Small modular reactors (SMR’s) are a different thing altogether. The technology exists for pick-up truck sized, water-moderated SMR’s, say about 10MW each, to serve as distributed (move them to where you need them), highly dispatchable (90%+ capacity factor) power sources. They would be zero emissions, and would definitely advance the push to further electrify our society. Sorry for the long-winded answer, but I hope that I’ve addressed some of your comments at least.

      • You are probably right about not building new large scale nuclear in Canada any time soon although I have many friends on Twitter like Steve Aplin and Tom Hess in Ontario for example who wish it wasn’t the case. I believe there is a new construction site license in effect in Darlington, Ontario for two new plants but little has happened in over 10 years. More importantly neither the Conservative or Liberal parties at either the Federal or Provincial level(Ontario) has been that excited about moving forward with new builds in Ontario or really anywhere else in Canada(And as a Canadian I expect you can easily guess how the NDP and Canadian Greens feel about this issue). Now the second question is of course keeping the existing fleet running especially Pickering which is the “oldest” nuclear plant in Canada. This is far from settled and in fact is quite significant. Pickering is scheduled to close in 2025 but this is subject to change. More importantly in some sense Ontario is almost all Hydro or Nuclear already so building a new nuclear plant is really a question of whether you are going to shut down an existing one and replace it with natural gas which will cause emissions to rise. My personal opinion is both the Conservative and Liberals provincially and federally will find it in their interests to keep extending the life of the Pickering plant over building a brand new plant or replacing it’s power with natural gas plants. It also helps that nuclear plants employ a lot of people and the electoral ridings around Pickering are “swing” ones.

      • My second point is between the two I think solar makes a lot more sense than wind. There is a good deal of correlation between Solar and power consumption especially in summer peaking places. Solar isn’t a good replacement for baseload but I think with advances in battery storage Solar does make sense for peaking power especially in more southern jurisdictions with high air conditioning demand. The problem solar still has is AC demand doesn’t decline until 2 to 3 hours after sunset so you need some type of battery solution to bridge the gap.

        In terms of electricity pricing I think the first initial problem is the switch towards market liberalization in much of western world(Alberta included but also where I live in the New England region of the US) has probably lead to higher prices generally although I know Ronald for example has some good arguments while liberalization or deregulation in the UK in the early 90s made sense however, especially I think market deregulation plus intermittent sources of energy together do lead to lower reliability and higher prices. It is too easy in a deregulated market like Alberta or like Texas, NY State, California, much of Europe, etc for renewable power producers to essentially make there intermittency the power market in general’s problems. So AESO in Alberta for example runs I think a 15 or 5 minute market(I forget). If you are a wind or even a solar producers selling into the market at every interval all you need to do when the wind stops blowing or sun stops shining is to stop selling into the grid at the next interval and then other power producers have to make up the shortfall(or not like in Texas where the grids just collapses because there is not enough generation). With Solar there is at least some predictability of when solar production will go up and down compared to wind but still

        Now in those places that still have traditional vertically regulated market like BC in Canada or the Southeastern US(like the Florida or Georgia) well when then regulated utility puts in place a solar farm well the same utility is also responsible for “backing up” the intermittency of the resource with battery storage, etc(Which is in part why these areas have been slower to deploy solar and wind) and unlike “merchant” solar and wind producers in Texas or Alberta they cannot simply pass the buck to the rest of the wholesale electricity market. Now one reason why I do think there is potential for solar especially in Florida for example which is a old style traditional electricity regulation jurisdiction the utility companies have deployed solar plus battery storage on a large scale basis while maintaining fairly low rates and reliability(to be fair also because of pressure from “Green” groups too). Now Florida doesn’t have as much solar as California but the amount it does have is far from insignificant which tells me there is potential in the technology but California has probably gone too far too fast for ideological reason which is by the way typically California policy-making(Florida also has more nuclear than California too).

        • Can’t argue any of your points Tim, they are all well taken. An Alberta-style competitive power market does indeed enable wind and solar power operators to offer their power to the market at competitive prices, which is in effect made possible by the base-load operators, who have to make up the shortfall when wind and solar aren’t contributing. The positive thing is that this does provide an opportunity to develop these resources without heavy expenditures in storage, but at some point, if renewables growth keeps pace, this issue will have to be faced, and the concomitant costs will be passed on to consumers. I don’t have any easy answers, alas, but I do favor NG over coal for sure, and even more so as NG underpins the fertilizer and agriculture industries, and is thus a key part of feeding much of the world. Small reactor technology is ready to go now, so I sure hope it gets serious consideration soon. It would enable more distributed and localized grid development, and perhaps go part of the way towards reducing need for expanded storage and transmission solutions.

          • Tim Smyth | May 8, 2021 at 7:44 pm |

            I was going to make another further comment that I think is relevant to your response which I think explains what happened in Texas in February and I think shows some of the real dangers of the manner of how we are currently putting renewables on the grid. That is in the competitive market jurisdictions as you put them(and I think this is actually a fair and non-derogatory to describe them unlike say deregulated which is not only derogatory but also incorrect competitive markets probably have even more rules and regulations than old style traditional integrated ones).

            To my point though, increasingly you are seeing baseload generation especially natural gas generation in competitive markets having less and less fuel security in order to continue stay profitable due to the lower prices on the grid as an effect of increasing renewables. For example Florida has a traditional regulated market and has also seen a huge increase in gas fired generation with all latest technology i.e. combined cycle etc. over the last 20 years. Most of this generation has dual fuel capability with several days of onsite storage. Beyond even on-site storage the integrated utilities in Florida also have central backup supplies of diesel to re-supply the gas generators if needed and the powerline repair trucks in the case of a natural disaster. Before they even need to turn on dual fuel capability however, all of the natural gas plants in question have both firm transportation and supply contracts for natural gas that are multi-year in nature. So you have essentially multiple layers of fuel security and all of the cost this is recovered through traditional utility rate setting.

            Whereas in many competitive markets say like Texas most merchant gas generators don’t have dual fuel capability or “firm” supply and transportation contracts. Instead they are basically selling electricity on the spot or “near” spot/day ahead markets and buying gas on the spot or “near” spot markets. What I think happened in Texas in particular was very bad combination of regulated and competitive markets side by side that is I suspect the actual natural gas producers when a lot of the wellheads started to freeze decided to honor their “firm” supply contracts mostly to out of state electric and gas utilities in traditional “regulated” jurisdictions that receive lots of gas from Texas like Georgia and Florida and withdraw from selling on the spot market to local Texas merchant natural gas power plants.

            Now some might wonder why didn’t the gas producers invoke force majaere to get out of their firm supply contracts with out of state in places like Florida producers and instead sell only in-state on the spot market to keep the lights on Texas. An energy sector lawyer could probably answer this question better than I can but my sense is a “firm” supply obligation takes precedence over spot markets sales so to the extent Texas gas producers still had “enough” gas coming out of the ground unfrozen to meet their firm delivery obligations to these out of state “traditional” utilities contract law would say they have to make delivery even while local merchant gas power plants were literally left out in the cold. Of course if all of North America had a competitive market as many in Texas in the 1990s and 2000s I suppose this wouldn’t have been a problem but that never happened and probably won’t happen any time soon. Texas did attempt towards the end of the crisis to stop gas shipments to out of state by legal means but as one might suspect it is questionable how much legal or practical effect this had given the US Constitution and it’s interstate commerce clause etc. and anyways this was towards the tail end of the crisis so it never really got tested legally.

            My further suspicion is no one in the gas or electric industry is probably for PR reasons really going to want to discuss or at all admit to wait I laid out as to my own thinking in what happened in Texas in February.

            Below is a video of one of the brand new natural gas power plants built in Florida in Fort Lauderdale in 2016. The huge backup diesel storage tank is quite visible and while it is not mentioned in the video because it is a regulated utility it has firm supply and transportation contract all the way back to the wellhead. And FP&L btw has electricity rates below the North American average.


          • Yes, it sounds as though Florida is doing things right. Alberta also has very competitive electricity rates, so far at least! I don’t know exactly what happened in the ERCOT debacle in Texas, but your analysis seems astute, and could very well be correct. I am profoundly thankful that, as with Florida, the same thing could not happen in Alberta. I hope that we are able to avoid the same mistakes, and make decisions that continue to green our grid, maintain stable supply, and keep costs affordable.

  5. Ronald STEENBLIK | May 1, 2021 at 6:23 pm | Reply

    For those of you who have access to The Economist newspaper’s website, there is a good analysis of natural gas role in the energy transition, on page 51 of the print addition, or at this link:


    Interesting to learn that Shell has said that its oil production peaked in 2019, but that it plans to expand its natural gas business with annual investments of $4 billion. The French oil major, Total, expects its crud-oil output to decline over the next decade, but for the share of natural gas to rise from 40% to 50% of its sales. And in February, Qatar Petroleum announced plans for the largest natural gas liquefaction project to date.

    Much of the rest of the article discusses various uncertainties that will affect the future demand for natural gas, namely demand and competing technologies, particularly for electric power generation.

    As for policy, The Netherlands and several Californian cities have banned providing natural gas connections in new buildings. Britain is expected to do so from 2025.

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