Wednesday, November 02, 2005

SacBee: We need LNG

The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board goes ga-ga over liquefied natural gas...and justifiably so.

For residents with heaters fueled by natural gas, this winter's bills will teach a painful lesson about supply problems with this energy source.

Pacific Gas and Electric is bracing customers for prices that are 50 percent higher than last year. Part of the problem is hurricane-related, with production in the Gulf of Mexico running at about half of pre-hurricane levels. But part of the problem has nothing to do with hurricanes and everything to do with a lack of capacity in California to import natural gas.

...These terminals are essential to improving the reliability of supplies and preventing the same price gyrations that plague oil and gasoline. While high natural gas prices can raise the home heating bill, they can affect the electricity bill as well. The state is increasingly dependent on a new generation of efficient, low-pollution power plants that are fueled by natural gas. So long as natural gas is the cornerstone of the state's electricity policy, an adequate supply of natural gas is essential. Some of this supply will come in the belly of large ships, and must be transferred to shore with the utmost care.