Natural Gas and Renewables: Can They Get Along?


A paper written by The Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis on behalf of NREL finds that there are synergies between natural gas and renewable energy at multiple levels.

Exploring the Potential Business Case for Synergies Between Natural Gas and Renewable Energy” finds that two synergies are:

  1. Hybrid systems such as smart buildings with both photovoltaic (PV) and natural gas combined heat and power (CHP) systems;
  2. Transmission corridors that serve both technologies.

Many technologies can offer benefits from joint location and shared transmission corridors, including:

  • Natural gas, wind, and compressed air energy storage (CAES)
  • Excess wind-to-synthetic gas, sold into existing pipeline infrastructure
  • Depleted natural gas wells converting to geothermal or CAES
  • Wastewater treatment facilities that use waste heat from natural gas power plants to create clean energy products, such as biogas or high-purity hydrogen for fuel cells.

In terms of hybrid energy systems, the paper cites an example in Karaman, Turkey, where GE is constructing a 530-MW generation plant that will integrate gas, solar thermal and wind within the plant’s design, increasing its efficiency and improving operator control.

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