6.2 Production and Delivery of Low-Carbon Gaseous Fuels (Ch. 26)

Recent increases in natural gas use in electricity generation and other applications have been widely heralded as a vital step in the transition to a clean energy economy. Natural gas is often described as a “clean” fossil fuel because its combustion emits significantly less mercury and other air toxins than coal or oil. Natural gas combustion also emits fewer GHGs than other fossil fuels. Any savings at the point of combustion may, however, be offset by GHG emissions during natural gas production. Most of those emissions take the form of methane, a highly potent GHG, released through gas leaks, venting, and flaring (where there is incomplete combustion). To reduce emissions, the DDPP technical report recommends replacing natural gas with renewable gases, such as biogas, hydrogen, and synthetic methane. The chapter discusses various government policies that may be used to support the production and use of renewable gases.