Natural gas has been a clean, available and affordable part of the clean energy revolution for years. There’s no question that natural gas should be included in future clean energy plans for Illinois.
Illinois is already a key transportation hub for natural gas.
Illinois has a geographic and infrastructure advantage over other states when it comes to natural gas. For example, the state is a central crossroads for more than a dozen interstate natural gas pipelines and two natural gas market centers. Additionally, Illinois receives natural gas from Canada, the Gulf Coast, the Rockies Express Pipeline and the Marcellus and Utica shale formations, giving it a big structural advantage to more geographically isolated states and regions like New England where infrastructure capacity is a challenge.
There is room for natural gas use to grow in Illinois.
Despite geographic advantages and existing pipeline capacity, natural gas is underutilized in Illinois. Natural gas represents almost one-third of Illinois’s generating capacity, but contributed only 3 percent of the overall electricity produced – which means the capacity for a much higher ratio exists.
The environmental and economic advantages of more natural gas use in Illinois would be significant.
A study released by the Illinois Chamber Foundation concludes that natural gas exploration in shale formations could create more than 47,000 new jobs in Illinois. And we know natural gas can help Illinois reduce carbon emissions while still maintaining energy reliability and affordability because natural gas provides more power with less environmental impact than other fuel sources.
Additionally, natural gas helps make renewable energy sources like wind and solar more viable and provides a stable source of electricity with less emissions when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.