Utilization of Natural Gas Capacity in Response to U.S. Epa's Clean Power Rule
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the factors that have historically led to low utilization of natural gas capacity, and to provide policymakers with recommendations for crafting least-cost state policies for natural gas utilization in order to reach the state carbon emissions targets in the Clean Power Plan. I use Energy Information Administration and EPA eGRID panel data on U.S. power plants to evaluate the role of different policies, energy demand, and fuel supply factors on natural gas utilization using econometric modeling. Utilization of other sources of electricity generation, such as coal and intermittent renewables, may compete with or complement natural gas generation and will also be tested using sets of equations in a seemingly unrelated regression. Preliminary results show new CCGT plants have higher utilization rates than older plants, and all natural gas plants have higher utilization as natural gas prices decrease. These results suggest technology plays an important role in increasing utilization of natural gas capacity, and efforts to keep natural gas prices low by increasing pipeline capacity may help state efforts to displace coal generation with existing natural gas capacity.