New Mexico’s Energy All-Star

Over the last few years the city of Las Cruces has been recognized on lists such as the “Top 10 Cities to Retire,” “Top 10 Cities for Real Estate Steals,” and made the top “20 Best Towns of the Future.” With all of this publicity it is no wonder that people from all over the world are relocating to the beautiful scenery and the thriving communities of Southern New Mexico and Doña Ana County.

One of the reasons New Mexico is growing can be attributed to the abundance of oil and natural gas that can be found across our great state. The vast amount of natural gas in North America holds the potential for over 100 years of energy, and that translates into more opportunities for the residents of New Mexico. As the electric companies across our great nation are moving away from coal towards renewable energy sources natural gas is becoming a growing force used to bridge the gap between our energy past and our energy future.

There are so many benefits to using natural gas, and with New Mexico being a key producing state those benefits translate into jobs and growth in our local economies. Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, widely available, increasingly abundant, and domestically produced. While natural gas is being used to produce electricity in cleaner more efficient ways, over 98% of the natural gas being used in the U.S. comes from North America. This all-star energy option helps Americans get back to work, stimulate the economy, and bolster our nation’s energy independence from foreign sources. Prices are at ten year lows, and production continues to increase translating into smarter energy today while creating a brighter future for New Mexico tomorrow.

Across the country the Environmental Protection Agency is making changes to improve the quality of air in our communities by changing standards of electrical power plants away from coal to a much cleaner, environmentally friendly option. The facts show that natural gas offers one of the most efficient options available, and during a full fuel cycle greenhouse gas emissions are 44% less than comparable energy options. Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel being used all over the world as a first choice to supplement renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. A more efficient energy option that reduces wasted energy and harmful greenhouse gases at the same time, naturally that is a win-win situation for the residents of Doña Ana County. The direct use of natural gas offers cost effective solutions to lowering greenhouse gases and improving air quality for the residents of New Mexico.

Electric companies are currently using natural gas to produce over 25% of the total electricity in the country. The percentage is growing every year as the United States is shifting away from coal based power plants and more towards  natural gas combined heat and power plants designed to decrease the amount of pollutants being released during electricity generation. However, regardless of the fuel source, electricity generation and transmission on average loses nearly 66% of the possible energy during this process. When compared alongside other energy forms, electric system losses today represent half of all energy used in residential and commercial sectors according to a report by Richard Meyer called “Squeezing Every BTU: Natural Gas Direct Use Opportunities and Challenges” in January of 2012. The lost energy from electrical systems represents the single largest share of energy consumption in both residential and commercial sectors. When choosing natural gas for your heating, drying, and cooking you are using over 90% of the possible energy at the point of use, eliminating huge amounts of wasted energy while easing the power load on our overworked electrical systems reducing the need for additional electrical generation capacity.

Our current electrical infrastructure is inefficient and aging, but the direct use of natural gas offers some relief. Natural gas usually provides the lowest cost fuel option for the consumer and studies by the American Gas Association show that homeowners save 30%-45% on their energy bills by switching over electrical appliances to more cost effective natural gas versions. The direct use of natural gas appliances conserves energy, improves air quality, and reduces total electrical load. In Doña Ana County you can get incentives from natural gas utility companies that offset the cost of converting appliances, added with the annual savings, the switch pays for itself quickly. When you make the choice to use natural gas you are directly reducing the amount of electricity being needed in our communities, and you are supporting a cleaner brighter future for the state of New Mexico.

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