Cost of natural gas

bry84November 23, 2005

It's official now, British gas is the most expensive fuel in the world. I read it in the news today and cannot say I'm surprised, only last year it went up by some 13% on just one occasion, which I recall in detail as the news made me choke on my coffee (heated with british gas, by the way). Over the previous 2 years the total increases add up to aprox. 40%.

Now, if sitting in our homes that are colder than last year and still spending more than last year again, which has been the energy trend of the decade isn't bad enough, we're also on the brink of running out of gas and having regular black outs. The reason is that bad energy policy, lack of planning and an unusually cold winter are about to collide.

Natural gas as a fossil fuel is not too bad for the environment, the only concerning pollution it causes is CO2. Certainly it's clean burning enough to vent in to your kitchen with a gas cooker and leaves behind no toxic ashes or unhealthy smoke. Also, due to the structure of the methane molecule having more hydrogen-carbon bonds it releases less carbon per thermal unit when burnt. It has done wonders for cleaning up residential air quality. But, it was never a good idea to convert so many electric power plants over to natural gas, the supplies are just too limited and the price too high. It's been a rather short sighted plan from the government that has helped make the energy picture look better, certainly it's curbed the carbon emissions somewhat even if energy use has gone up. Unfortunatly, looking good on paper doesn't allways look good in reality.

Now, both domestic gas and electric come from mainly the same limited, imported and expensive fuel. They both cost a small fortune and a shortage of one creates a shortage of both. I fear it's much the same story elsewhere. The general trend to cut back on pollution and carbon dixoide, particuarly with political interventions such as legislation and Kyoto mean that rather than find good sustainable long term solutions many countries are buying in to seemingly easy solutions. Natural gas, since it releases less CO2 per thermal unit than other fossil fuels is an attractive solution in the short term, it also avoids all the expensive and now required by law pollution controls for coal burning. Political intervention seems to have just shifted the popularity of fossil fuels around a little, and tightening up on emissions has unfortunatly done very little to encourage renewable energy. Only long term will the costs of these easy solutions be obvious.

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fsq4cw

We converted to geothermal energy a couple of years ago. Just got our electric bill a couple of days ago. The cost for heating the past 2 months, and we DO heat, as weÂre in Canada, was $1.24Can./day all taxes included! BTW, heating oil, w/Tx is running $4.00Can/Imp.Gal. I bet weÂd be using at least a gallon a day plus a few Kw electricity. Right now itÂs 15degrees Fahrenheit and dropping. We just donÂt worry about the cost of heating anymore. We arenÂt freezing, nor do we set back our thermostat  ever. IÂm almost always comfortable in just a tee shirt, even in the basement.

What I want to say is that we should be heating and cooling every home, office building, big box store, school, arena, swimming pool, hospital, institution  everything we possibly can with this technology.

There are ways to space condition that are MUCH cheaper than using conventional technology  but first we have to put some money up front to get there; itÂs a sound investment.

All the reasons for NOT doing this are nothing more than noise pollution!

SR

Here is a link that might be useful: how-efficient-is-it-magazine.com

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 1:10AM
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bry84

Actually, I don't heat with gas, I have a solid fuel boiler that keeps the house fairly warm for a low cost. There's a number of old gas heaters around the house, but with the high prices I doubt I'll use them much this year. Otherwise my hot water and cooking is gas, and that's all I have to worry about.

I was talking about costs in a different meaning. The cost of gas is that it's being used to please the environmental crowd and avoid pollution laws, but at great expense to our energy Independence and sustainability. Ultimately, no fossil fuels are sustainable, but with careful planning we can make them last for many decades more without shortages and price hikes.

I thought it was an interesting example of environmental policy causing the wrong result. No doubt the people who bought in laws regarding pollution from power plants intended the industry to install pollution controls and build cleaner burning coal plants, not a crazy unsustainable expansion of gas plants that have sucked the north sea gas field dry in a few short years. But, that's exactly what happened.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2005 at 9:39AM
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bushleague

We have Keyspam gas here on the Cape. I used 9 therms last
month (for hot water only) and my tab was $28.65. The "delivery" charge alone was last year's total price
at $1.59/ therm. At least I'm making money on the other
end, FSNGX is up 40.5% ytd.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 4:50AM
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