Your editorial “Mass. needs hydro to meet 2020 carbon goal” proclaims, “A pressing environmental threat like climate change demands a pragmatic response.” Yet there’s nothing pragmatic about ignoring the potential of natural gas to continue to lower both emissions and utility costs in New England.
Clean-burning natural gas is a leading factor in cutting US carbon emissions to 20-year lows. Locally, New England saw significantly reduced emissions for nitrogen oxide (65 percent), sulfur dioxide (92 percent), and carbon dioxide (35 percent) between 2005 and 2014, due primarily to greater use of natural gas in the power sector.
Natural gas and renewables are often presented as competing energy sources. Calling for one over the other is a false choice. Natural gas provides reliable power when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Even the region’s independent grid operator says renewables alone won’t meet all of our energy needs.
Hydropower, solar, and offshore and onshore wind all have roles to play. To continue emissions progress, as well as to reduce consumer costs and keep manufacturing competitive, natural gas must be part of the policy conversation.