This study demonstrates how widespread adoption of emerging natural gas direct-use technologies can contribute significantly to achieving public goals of deep reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. residential sector, with much lower costs than other options under consideration. It’s low hanging fruit that should be a core element considered for any responsible emissions reduction plan.
- U.S. residential natural gas emissions can be reduced by 24 percent through the advancement of more efficient emerging technologies, with average net savings (negative costs) of $51 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent (“ton” or “MT” as used in this report). With higher levels of incentive support for emerging technologies, GHG emissions can be reduced by 40 percent, at the modest average cost of $66 per ton.
- No technological miracles are required. The natural gas direct-use technologies modeled in this study are either available now or are expected to roll out to market within three years.
- No policy mandates were assumed, e.g., bans of specific technologies or required levels of GHG emission reductions. The savings can be achieved by offering cost-effective incentives and allowing customers to make choices. Customers can consider the superior resiliency and comfort of highly efficient natural gas equipment in their buying decisions. Incentives can be removed once the gas technologies have achieved economic scale and equipment costs are competitive on their own.
- Higher direct-use efficiencies on the demand side can be complemented by increased use of carbon-neutral biogas and hydrogen (collectively “renewable gas”) on the supply side, plus continued reductions in methane emissions along the gas delivery chain, to produce very deep cuts to residential GHG emissions from natural gas usage
- In the long-term world of deep decarbonization, direct use of natural gas and renewable gas can serve more intense energy uses more efficiently and effectively than all-electric solutions, which may be technically feasible but are much costlier and can require vast amounts of new infrastructure.
- There is no “one size fits all” solution to reducing GHG emissions. This study demonstrates how natural gas can be a core component of an integrated approach for achieving U.S. emissions reduction goals while providing options that allow gas utilities and their customers to choose what works best in their circumstances (resource base, types of energy demands, demographic mix).