Speed Saves: Fastest Way To Low-Carbon Electricity Is To Hit The [Natural] Gas Pedal

xto energy website banner photo

Image credit:XTO Energy website banner excerpt.

Let's suppose we've got a real climate emergency on our hands. And, that numerous corporate leaders realize it is a man-made threat. A mercury emissions and fly ash management crisis already looms for coal-fired electricity generators. What's the fastest, cleanest, most affordable way to make a positive change in electricity generation, solving both problems?

As consensus for action builds on both fronts - greenhouse gas and conventional pollutant control on coal-fired generators - nimble corporate strategic planners can see it coming. (Climate skeptics and free marketeers, go with the flow on this, will ya?) The coal-fired electricity business rapidly approaches a point where price competition with wind and natural gas-fired electricity could overwhelm. Businesses would move for first-in advantage, as soon as this is seen as a likely outcome, wouldn't they? Well...wouldn't they?

I think this moment has come and gone. Read on for some surprising evidence.If it really is an emergency, you want the "fastest carbon reduction at the lowest possible cost using available technology..." so says a BP executive, as reported in the Washington Post.

Gas is far and away the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, generating at least 50 percent less carbon per kilowatt hour than coal, and almost zero sulfur oxides, mercury and particulate ash. And because gas-fired power stations can be easily switched on and off (unlike those fired by coal), it is the ideal complement to intermittent power sources such as wind and solar.
Exxon-Mobil, which has an enviable stock dividend record, seems pretty good at calling it's investment shots. The New York Times DealBook reports
Exxon Mobil said Monday that it has agreed to buy XTO Energy, a natural gas producer, for $31 billion in stock and the assumption of $10 billion in debt, the largest energy merger in years.
XTO's website front page profile includes this:
XTO Energy Inc. has grown from its inception in 1986 to one of the nation's largest independent oil and gas producers. Our proven strategy has built a domestic reserve base with greater than 2.06 billion barrels of oil equivalent...
. I rest my case.