Electricity Generation

Quick Facts

  • Natural gas produces about 95 percent fewer emissions of criteria pollutants and 50 percent fewer carbon emissions than coal.
  • Thanks to natural gas, American energy-related CO2 emissions in 2012 were the lowest they have been since 1994.
  • Natural gas enables renewable energy by serving as a backup to wind and solar when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

Electricity from Natural Gas is Key To Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Natural gas electricity generation has greatly reduced U.S. CO2 emissions. From 1997 to 2012, the amount of electricity generated by natural gas has increased from 21.6% to 29.4%, mostly by replacing coal generation. As a result, American energy-related CO2 emissions in 2012 were the lowest they have been since 1994.

As the cleanest burning fossil fuel, natural gas is playing an increasingly important role in reducing common air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions from the power generation sector, which is the largest source of both types of emissions. Natural gas produces about 95% less emissions of criteria pollutants and 50% less carbon emissions than coal.

When it comes to intermittent renewable electricity generation, natural gas enables wind and solar power by filling in during the large gaps of time when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.