The Ohio Legislature’s decision in January to declare natural gas a “clean energy” source capped an intense year-long effort by the Mackinac Center and its partners to tell lawmakers across the country how important this fuel is to human well-being.
Buckeye State lawmakers drew on information from “The Truth About Natural Gas,” a study co-published by the Mackinac Center’s Environmental Policy Initiative and Northwood University’s McNair Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.
With state and federal governments rushing to “decarbonize” energy by moving the economy from coal and natural gas to solar and wind power, the report describes the value of natural gas to North America’s economic, social, and environmental health and well-being.
The report came from a project that began last year, aimed at helping readers grasp the centrality of natural gas and understand how bad energy policy makes it more difficult for people to meet their everyday needs.
Governments around the country are destabilizing essential energy systems in the pursuit of a green ideology. A winter storm in Texas in February 2021 showed the nation what happens when the electrical system is made fragile by premature attempts to transition to energy sources like wind.
Texas is engaged in a long-term effort to shift its electricity generation capacity away from fossil fuels to heavily subsidized wind energy. The plan set up the state for an electrical grid failure when an extreme winter storm descended on generating facilities that were not properly weatherized. The already fragile electrical grid buckled, leaving millions of Texans suffering in the cold and dark.
Organizations that maintain and monitor the grid’s reliability have repeatedly expressed their concerns about the push for rapid decarbonization of our electrical systems. Jim Robb, CEO of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, warned of impending grid failures being brought on by “the disorderly retirement of older-generation” facilities. Robb’s organization reiterated its warnings in November 2022, explaining that a rush to shutter reliable generation sources was leaving “a large portion of the North American [grid] at risk of insufficient electricity supplies during peak winter conditions.”
The Mackinac Center’s collaborative research with the McNair Center — one of many efforts to work with like-minded organizations on projects that can advance shared goals — describes how natural gas serves as a central component of our energy supply and an essential component of many of the products we use every day. We show how gas also has played a key role in improving environmental outcomes for our industrialized society.