Is Shale Gas the Answer?
Using natural gas to generate electricity offers distinct advantages. Gas plants burn fuel more cleanly than coal-fired stations, can be built quickly and provide flexibility in meeting demand. Fluctuating natural gas prices, however, have historically hindered the fuel source’s practicality as a cost-effective solution for the long term.
Duke Energy is paying close attention to developments in the decades-old process of extracting natural gas from shale, a fine-grained rock. Recent technological advances and newly discovered domestic supplies have boosted shale gas extraction. The U.S. experienced a 70-percent increase in shale gas production between 2007 and 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Office of Oil and Gas. Experts predict the resource will provide approximately one-third of U.S. natural gas resources in the 21st century.
Still, some are raising concerns about the amount of water and chemicals required in the shale fracturing process, as well as the potential for future government regulation. Duke Energy will continue to monitor developments related to shale gas production and incorporate it into our long-term generation plans as appropriate.