Smart Gas Investment: How Many Swiss Army Knives Do We Need?
Some describe natural gas generation as the “Swiss army knife” of generation technologies, and gas’s current abundance and low price have driven calls for large-scale investments in gas infrastructure. Yet a Swiss army knife, versatile as it is, would not be our first choice if we had a more well-equipped toolbox. As the electric system moves toward a decarbonized future, it needs to be equipped with a full set of least-cost, least-risk tools. In a RAP webinar held on July 9th, Dr. Carl Linvill describes key policies needed for a “smart gas” approach. He recommends using gas as a strategic resource to complement lower-carbon options—such as energy efficiency, demand response, distributed generation, and large-scale renewable resources—not eclipse them. A headlong rush to gas expansion could leave many assets stranded, a costly outcome that could delay the transition to cleaner power. The webinar draws from a forthcoming article, “Smart Gas Investment for a Risk-Aware Transition”, which examines gas’s optimal role in a risk-aware power sector transition.