I’ve been meaning to remark on natural gas prices for several days, especially since a regular reader pointed out that natural gas prices have reached their lowest levels in a decade. But now, in what may be a first, I’ll just outsource the discussion by favorably linking to a post on the Climate Progress blog.
By the way, note that the prices shown in the post’s graphic (from EIA) are average prices over 2011. Current prices for natural gas are about $1 below what is shown there. (In January, typically peak demand time for natural gas!)
In the post Stephen Lacey worries about the effects of low natural gas prices on renewable power, and it is a problem if you want to roll out more renewable power capacity anytime soon, but for consumers it is a win-win. Low gas prices push down now on (non-transportation) energy prices, particularly power prices. The delay in new installations of renewable power means that, when natural gas prices recover in a few years, the power plants built will have better technology than exists today. Meanwhile, the subsidies avoided will have a very small but beneficial effect on the federal government budget.
And if your primary concern is greenhouse gas emissions, note that natural gas-fuels power plants will continue to displace coal-fired power even as the additions of renewable power plants are slowed.