It is often said that change is the only constant. And that rings true even in the energy industry. Like many great technologies that eventually become obsolete, today’s electric grid is aging and unable to keep up with changing times. It was not created to survive strong winds, storm surges, and other severe forms of weather, nor is it adequate to meet the demands of America’s increasingly digital and connected economy. Most people do not view natural gas as an alternative source of energy, but it has a long history as a fossil fuel. With new and emerging technologies for extracting, storing, and transmitting the gas, it is becoming more popular.
The North American natural gas infrastructure is a highly integrated distribution grid of producing wells, gathering lines, processors, transmission and distribution pipelines, compressor stations, and storage facilities. It can transport natural gas to and from nearly any location in the lower 48 States with over 90% efficiency. Currently, most residential uses for natural gas are confined to heat their homes and cook with. But natural gas is a viable option to power their homes as well, due to the growth from natural gas that enables power-producing utilities to transmit the power to consumers to power their lives.
Currently, natural gas is serving over 75 million customers with near 100% reliability. From a costs perspective, natural gas storage provides a great amount of flexibility for the gas grid. Today, there are over 400 operational gas storage fields underground. These enormous, battery-like energy producers allow power generators to speed up workflow, manage imbalances and maintain reliability during disruptions in production for either processing or off-shore delivery.
It should come as no surprise then, that the natural gas infrastructure is creating many more jobs in America. The demand is so high, in fact, that many companies will be forced to replace up to half of their workforce over the next 15 years due to the shale oil and gas boom, and the influx of baby boomers reaching retirement age. Hence, many current jobs will become available, in addition to the numerous new jobs that will be created to meet rising demand.
The conventional electric power grid may have been the force that brought America to where it is today and it may still enjoy some modest economic growths; however, this will soon change. The natural gas grid plays a key role in our energy independence and is where the future of energy lies in the United States. For more information on pursuing a career in the energy industry, please contact FootBridge Energy Services today.