Natural Gas: A Sustainable Choice

UniSource Energy Services supports sustainability goals designed to mitigate the impact of climate change on our community and our planet. As we employ new technologies and innovation, natural gas is a key part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For customers, natural gas is an affordable and efficient choice that’s reliable and safe in serving everyday energy needs. Because it produces lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than other fossil fuels, it’s also helping electric providers transition to a cleaner energy grid.

Natural gas supports reduced emissions as we work toward carbon neutrality.

  • Increased use of natural gas to generate electricity has reduced cumulative energy-related CO2 emissions by 61 percent from 2005 to 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
  • The direct use of natural gas helps supplement and satisfy the demand for energy. Electrifying the entire residential sector would nearly double the U.S. electric grid’s peak hourly demand, exceeding its capacity to provide reliable service, according to a study conducted by American Gas Association (AGA).
  • Residential natural gas use accounts for just 4 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions; commercial natural gas use is responsible for about 3 percent, according to the AGA_Study_On_Residential_Electrification
  • Natural gas burns cleaner than other fuels. Households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying produce about 20 percent less carbon dioxide equivalent emissions than comparable all-electric homes when considering energy use and emissions along the full fuel cycle, which examines all impacts associated with energy use, according to a recent report by the AGA.
  • Natural gas plays an essential role in the energy mix of most utilities, including Arizona Public Service (APS), UniSource and Tucson Electric Power (TEP).
  • UniSource supports the adoption of natural gas-fueled vehicles. Natural gas combustion is significantly cleaner that petroleum combustion.

Natural gas is efficient.

  • Continued efficiency improvements have helped hold total residential gas usage levels steady since 1970, even as the number of customers served has increased by 86 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). More efficient gas furnaces, water heaters, and other equipment have combined with utility energy efficiency programs to achieve tremendous energy and cost savings for customers.
  • The AGA reports that, thanks to advancements in home technologies and utility energy efficiency programs, the average U.S. home uses 40 percent less natural gas than it did 40 years ago.
  • From production to a customer’s home, the natural gas delivery system is about 92 percent efficient. In contrast, almost 63 percent of the energy needed to satisfy consumers’ electricity needs is used or lost in the process of generation, transmission, and distribution.
  • UniSource continues to improve service and efficiency, invests in upgrades to our infrastructure and supports public safety by actively working to prevent damage to our facilities, reducing the potential for service outages and leaks.

Natural gas supports renewable energy.

  • Natural gas is a ready “fuel on demand” that can serve as a baseline, supplemental or backup energy resource. The flexibility is critical in compensating for intermittent production from our expanding use of wind and solar resources. It’s particularly important in offsetting rapid reductions in solar energy output in the late afternoon, when energy use in Arizona typically reaches its peak.
  • UniSource maintains interest in possible renewable natural gas opportunities, including fuel from agricultural uses and landfills, as well as hydrogen.