Natural Gas Still a Cheap Energy Source [AUDIO]
Natural gas as an energy commodity continues to get cheaper, for two main reasons.
One reason is the declining economy slowed industrial demand for natural gas, putting downward pressures on prices. New Jersey Natural Gas head Kathy Ellis says another major factor in lowering costs is the source known as the Marcellus shale, a rock formation that runs through Pennsylvania and New York. She says advances in technology have allowed us to get down into that shale, and to produce it for an economic amount. And it has made a huge difference in the price of gas. Ellis estimates 30 percent of the country's natural gas supply is now coming from the Marcellus shale. In Pennsylvania, more than two-thousand natural gas wells have been drilled since 2008. On the other hand, some observers have been saying Marcellus shale deposits in the New York area have been underutilized.
Natural gas has also been underused for electric generation, in part because lobbyists representing the coal industry have been keeping coal-fired generation plants operating in the midwest.
This past summer, New Jersey Natural Gas asked the Board of Public Utilities for a 10 percent rate cut for their estimated one-million customers in the state.