Abundant Shale Gas Resources: Some Implications for Energy Policy
According to recent assessments, the United States has considerably more recoverable natural gas in shale formations than was previously thought. Such a development raises the possibility of a shift in U.S. energy consumption toward natural gas. To examine how the apparent abundance of natural gas might affect U.S. energy markets and the role of natural gas in climate policy, we model five scenarios—reflecting different perspectives on natural gas availability, the availability of competing resources, and climate policy—through 2030. We find that more abundant natural gas supplies result in greater natural gas use in most sectors of the economy. We further find that natural gas could serve as a bridge fuel to a low-carbon future, but only if appropriate low-carbon policies are in place.