Around the world, natural gas is increasingly being used to produce electricity. Its widespread availability and low emissions profile make it an attractive generation option in many countries. The ability of natural gas plants to quickly respond to changes in electricity demand also contributes to its popularity.
When compared to coal-based power plants, gas-fired plants entail shorter construction times and lower total plant cost. Natural gas plants have significantly fewer emissions than coal plants. There are no particulate or sulfur dioxide emissions from natural gas, and the nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide emissions are substantially less. Moreover, natural gas plants do not produce solid waste products.
The cost of natural gas has historically been considerably higher than the cost of coal and much more volatile, reducing some of the attractiveness of natural gas-fired plants. Recent technological advances in well drilling have significantly increased the amount of available gas resources through shale gas, resulting in lower natural gas prices. In the long term, concerns about natural gas prices may persist as higher demand for natural gas may produce higher prices.
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