What Does the Future Hold for Natural Gas?

The natural gas system provides major benefits to Canadians. Natural gas is one of the only fuels to supply almost every sector of a modern economy – from industrial processes, to creating fertilizer for agriculture, to generating electricity, to providing space and water heating and to fueling trucks and marine vessels for transportation. Compared to electricity, natural gas provides almost twice the energy at a significantly lower cost.

Yet the issue remains that natural gas is still a fossil fuel and the emissions from its use have come under increased scrutiny and are subject to legitimate questioning, especially as global trends and government policies point to a low-emissions energy future. The nature and use of gas itself and the gas system will need to be changed.

Using results from a literature review and a multi-stakeholder workshop with natural gas industry representatives from across Canada, Pollution Probe’s report analyses challenges and opportunities for the role of natural gas and the gas system to help map out the sector’s options to reduce emissions while continuing to ensure that Canadians have access to reliable energy sources. The report looks at a number of different ways the gas system could contribute, including increasing energy efficiency, district energy, and innovative technologies. The introduction of low-carbon gas, such as renewable natural gas or hydrogen, will be critical.

The project was supported by Enbridge Gas, SaskEnergy, ATCO, FortisBC and the Canadian Gas Association. Natural Resources Canada also participated in this project.