Energy

Texas Energy Prices Keep Dropping As Natural Gas Dominates

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter

Texas residents have enjoyed falling energy and gas prices throughout the last decade as more and more natural gas is produced and used in power generation throughout the state, according to data compiled by Texans for Natural Gas.

Residential electricity prices have fallen since 2008 by about 16 percent, almost directly proportional to a 17 percent increase in power generation from natural gas over the same time period, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Millions of Texas families are cranking up the thermostat in response to abnormally low temperatures, which is a reminder that affordable and available energy saves lives,” Texans for Natural Gas Spokesman Steve Everley said in a statement. “Thankfully, low-cost natural gas is keeping Texans warm and protecting them from higher energy bills.”

The price of natural gas delivered directly to Texas consumers has fallen by 15 percent from 2008 to 2016.

The fracking boom has brought other advances and records to the U.S. natural gas industry as well. The U.S. became the world’s largest producer of natural gas in 2012, surpassing Russia. Natural gas passed coal as the United States’ leading source of electricity in July 2017.

The fracking boom has driven up natural gas production in the United States, making the U.S. the world’s largest producer in 2012.

“The fracking boom has been a clear winner for Texas and indeed the entire country, giving us lower energy bills and enhancing our energy security, while also helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Everley added.

Despite its successes, fracking has amassed criticisms from environmental and public health officials who claim the process causes respiratory problems, problems with pregnancy and general stress to people living close to wells.

“The correlation [between fracking and various health problems] is too strong to ignore, especially when we have other, cleaner energy options,” infectious disease specialist Judy Stone wrote in Forbes. “For our safety and that of future generations, we should not allow the new administration to sell off public lands, nor allow drilling on our land, and should ban fracking completely.”

A direct link between health problems and fracking has never been established. Proponents of fracking point to studies that have concluded no discernible link exists between fracking and health problems.

“There was no identifiable impact on death rates in the six counties attributable to the introduction of unconventional oil and gas development,” a December report on fracking in Pennsylvania states. “In fact, the top Marcellus counties experienced declines in mortality rates in most of the indices.”

Correlations between energy costs and natural gas are easier to measure. A June 2015 report from the Harvard Business School found the average American household saved $800 in 2014 because of the low price of natural gas. The study projected those savings to increase to $1,070 per household by 2030.

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