Is Natural Gas Still A Viable ‘Bridge’ Energy Source?

Clean energy alternatives are quickly becoming more affordable than natural gas, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute.

By Alexandra HartSeptember 11, 2019 7:55 am,

Natural gas is often referred to as a “bridge fuel.” It serves as a conduit between carbon-rich fossil fuels like oil or coal, and clean, sustainable energy sources. But a new report says it is time for energy consumers to cross over the bridge. 

The new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, or RMI, a think tank that focuses on renewables, says energy costs have reached a tipping point and that clean energy sources such as solar and wind are now less expensive than natural gas. As market fluctuation influences the cost of gas and oil, the price to build clean energy projects is continuing to decrease in 2019. 

Charles “Chaz” Teplin is a manager for RMI’s electricity practice in Boulder, Colorado. He studies sustainable options for generating electricity in the U.S. Teplin says that even with current low prices for natural gas, renewables are still cheaper. 

“We call it a tipping point because in 2019 it is all-of-a-sudden cheaper to build and use combinations of these technologies than it is to run even the cheapest fossil fuel plants,” Teplin says.

Teplin says the point of the natural gas bridge is to eventually get across it. Now, with lower prices and emissions, the RMI advocates a full transition from fossil fuels to renewables. 


Written by Libby Cohen.