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We’re a supporter and a partner in pursuing all sensible paths to reducing emissions and providing affordable, safe and reliable energy for our customers today and tomorrow. 

 

Government policies are being introduced which restrict the direct use of natural gas in Americans’ homes and businesses. The elimination of a customer’s right to choose is an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; however, forced electrification is not the answer. Preserving energy choice is critical for Americans and natural gas is an essential part of a clean energy future.

 

Removing energy choice isn’t the solution 
 

Restricting Americans’ energy choices will not achieve our emissions reduction goals. U.S. homes create only 4% of our country’s total emissions. Forced electrification  would only lower U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 1%.

Source: AGA Implications for Policy-Driven Electrification

The costs of forced electrification fall on Americans
 

Forced electrification would significantly cost Americans. The average home’s energy-related costs could increase by 46% per year if we had to replace our appliances and only use electricity.

Our country’s electric grid can’t support forced electrification. If all homes were electric-only by 2035, power generation would need to double, costing as much as $456 billion. Americans would be on the hook for these expenses.

Source: AGA Implications for Policy-Driven Electrification

Forced electrification makes us vulnerable
 

More than one million homes and businesses rely on natural gas in our service area. Natural gas also creates electricity when Americans need it most—including the customers we serve with electricity. In fact, natural gas is the source of more than 35% of electricity generation in the U.S.2 Without natural gas, we don’t have a reliable way to keep fueling our country during peak demand or when renewable sources can’t operate. Plus, with a vast underground infrastructure, natural gas is less vulnerable to natural disasters and outages and is an exceptionally reliable source of energy.

Source: Opportunities for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through Emerging Natural Gas Direct-use Technologies by Enovation Partners

Energy efficiency better and more cost effectively reduces emissions than forced electrification
 

With current natural gas water and space heating achieving nearly 100% efficiency, Americans homes are already using less gas and producing significantly fewer emissions. Emerging natural gas technologies can achieve 140% energy efficiency and with widespread adoption, residential emissions from natural gas can be reduced by 40% and at only 10% of the cost compared to forced electrification.

Even with only moderate adoption, new natural gas technologies can reduce residential natural gas emissions by 24% with average net savings (negative costs) of $51 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent. All of the technology needed to achieve these energy savings are available to consumers now or will be within the next three years.

There isn't enough renewable electricity to meet America's needs
 

Only 17% of electricity generated in our country comes from a renewable source. Even by 2030, renewables will only supply a quarter of our electricity. If electrification is forced upon Americans, the electric generation will need to double, further widening the gap between what renewable energy can supply.

While Black Hills Energy and other utilities continue to build renewable generation, natural gas is a clean, abundant and domestic resource that’s readily available. Our country produces more natural gas than any other nation in the world—enough to meet Americans’ energy needs for more than another century.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration 2019 Annual Energy Outlook

Natural gas is clean energy
 

Natural gas is a clean source of energy, which has and will continue to reduce our country's carbon emissions. In fact, the use of natural gas decreases global power generation carbon emissions by more than 50%. Through the use of new technology, renewable natural gas and increased energy efficiency, natural gas can continue to shrink our country's carbon footprint. 

Source: “Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants Volume 1: Bituminous Coal and Natural Gas to Electricity” by National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Our shared goal is reducing emissions

Forced electrification is a method to achieving the goal of reducing carbon emissions, but it’s not the best path for Americans. Sustainably reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require partnership among clean energy sources like renewables and natural gas, smart use of our country’s infrastructure and careful consideration of the impact to Americans. Learn more about how natural gas helps fuel our future. 

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Frequently asked questions

Natural gas is the world’s cleanest fossil fuel, which has and will continue to reduce our country’s carbon emissions. In fact, the use of natural gas decreases global power generation carbon emissions by more than 50%. Through the use of new technology, renewable natural gas and increased energy efficiency, our nation’s abundant supply of natural gas can continue to shrink our carbon footprint.

Source: “Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants Volume 1: Bituminous Coal and Natural Gas to Electricity” by National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Forced electrification would actually cost you money. The average home’s energy-related costs could increase by 46% per year if we had to replace our appliances and only use electricity.

In addition to the upfront costs of converting to all-electric appliances, our country’s electric grid would need a major upgrade. The current grid can’t support forced electrification and if all homes were electric-only by 2035, power generation would need to double, costing as much as $456 billion. Americans would be on the hook for these expenses.

Source: AGA Implications for Policy-Driven Electrification

U.S. homes create only 4% of our country’s total emissions, far less than two leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions, transportation and electric generation. Emissions from our country’s natural gas system has declined 73% since 1990 and continues to drop.2

Source: AGA 2020 Playbook

Only 17% of electricity generated in our country currently comes from a renewable source. Even by 2030, renewables will only supply a quarter of our electricity.5 If electrification is forced upon Americans, the electric generation will need to double, further widening the gap between what renewable energy can supply.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration 2019 Annual Energy Outlook

Restricting Americans’ energy choices will not achieve our emissions reduction goals. U.S. homes create only 4% of our country’s total emissions. Forced electrification would only lower U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 1%.2

Source: AGA Implications for Policy-Driven Electrification

There’s no silver bullet or single answer to our country’s energy future. Our most successful approach will be to work together and to keep all options for emission reductions on the table. Natural gas supplies the clean energy we need now and will be an essential piece of our clean energy future. As renewables and technology continue to develop, our pipeline infrastructure will be a valuable asset for storing and transporting renewable energy.

Natural gas fuels nearly one third of the industrial sector and the affordability of natural gas has led to $121 billion in savings for American businesses since 2009. Low natural gas prices are an economic driver, benefiting consumer purchasing power and confidence, creating higher profits among businesses and improving cost-competitiveness for American manufacturers relative to their international competitors. Eliminating direct use of natural gas negativity impacts businesses and could stifle economic growth.

In addition, natural gas provides affordable energy to 179 million Americans. Households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying see an average savings of $879 every year than those who use electricity.

Sources: EIA; Natural Gas Study: Energizing Manufacturing; AGA 2020 Playbook; Natural Gas Study: Energizing Manufacturing

We support, and are a partner in, pursuing all sensible paths to reducing emissions and providing affordable, reliable energy for our customers today and tomorrow. Black Hills Energy has decreased emissions from our natural gas distribution services by 22% between 2006 to 2018, while adding nearly 100,000 new customers to our system. By 2014, we had removed all cast iron pipe from our system, which has a higher methane emitting rate than protected steel or plastic.

We will continue to shrink our environmental footprint by executing on our Methane Reduction Strategy, preparing to participate in EPA’s Methane Challenge and expanding our renewable energy generation and delivery.  We have 15 active or in-service renewable natural projects and over 60 potential future projects identified, as well as three state-of-the art wind generation facilities, with a fourth to be constructed this year. 

In addition to operational efforts, we also contribute to causes that improve our environment and communities. Black Hills Energy’s participation in the Energy Saving Trees and Power of Trees programs help communities improve energy efficiency, and cleans the air and water through the use of trees. Since beginning our program in 2014, the Arbor Day Foundation estimates that the Black Hills Energy program has avoided nearly 17 million pounds of carbon, filtered 46 million gallons of stormwater, absorbed 50,000 pounds of air pollutants and saved 4 million kWh.

With current natural gas water and space heating achieving nearly 100% efficiency, American homes are already using less gas and producing significantly fewer emissions. Black Hills Energy has energy efficiency programs to help customers continue to use less energy and offers rebates to upgrade to more efficient appliances.

The natural gas industry is also supporting emerging natural gas technologies which can achieve 140% energy efficiency. With widespread adoption, residential emissions from natural gas can be reduced by 40% and only 10% of the cost compared to forced electrification.

Even with only moderate adoption, new natural gas technologies can reduce residential natural gas emissions by 24% with average net savings (negative costs) of $51 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent. All of the technology needed to achieve these energy savings are available to consumers now or will within the next three years.

Source: Opportunities for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through Emerging Natural Gas Direct-use Technologies by Enovation Partners

RNG can come from many different sources including wastewater treatment facilities, landfills, animal manure, food waste, ag and forestry residue and more. With plentiful sources and multiple production technologies at a reduction cost of less than half of forced electrification, expanded RNG production has huge opportunity.7 For example, just one of our current RNG projects, a landfill in Sarpy County, NE, produces enough pipeline quality RNG to fuel nearly 6000 homes a year.8

RNG can be cleaned to pipeline quality and transported directly to homes and businesses using our existing natural gas infrastructure. Learn more about RNG.