Natural gas prices have gone up by more than 30 percent since late 2016, when they reached their highest level in more than three decades, according to data from a company called EnergyEfficiency.com.
But it’s unclear how much that could be due to new technologies, changes in how natural gas is produced and what companies have learned from past crises.
The industry is trying to figure that out.
EnergyEefficiency.com is a company that tracks and analyzes energy trends for natural gas companies.
The company says it tracks the price of natural gas by measuring the price per megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity generated, which is a number that shows how much electricity a typical natural gas turbine produces.
There are two ways to calculate electricity produced with a natural gas-fired turbine: A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the amount of electricity that a typical home uses when it is not in use.
The unit is expressed in terms of kilowatts or kwh, which are used in most electrical systems.
A kilogram is 1,000 kilograms.
The kilowatthour (kW) is equal to 1,200,000 watts.
This is how much power is produced using a typical gas turbine.
Energy efficiency measures can be applied to natural gas turbines to measure the amount a company can produce with the energy it consumes.
This energy is used in other things like refrigeration, air conditioning and other appliances.
“It’s not a question of whether the energy produced by natural gas will make the difference between a high-efficiency natural gas plant or an inefficient coal plant,” said James Buehler, a former president of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and current director of the energy research and policy program at Carnegie Mellon University.
“We know that in some cases the energy efficiency of the turbine is a lot higher than that of a coal plant.”
Buehl, who was not involved in the study, said the technology for measuring energy efficiency is already available.
“The new technology is more sophisticated,” he said.
“There are some other things that are a little more challenging to quantify, but they are going to be available in the future.”
There are also new technologies that can help.
Energy Efficiency.com’s data shows that natural gas production is up 30 percent over the past year, as natural gas prices rose and demand from the energy sector increased.
The number of megawatthours produced has also increased, with the average of power produced per MW of electricity used increasing by nearly 30 percent.
In 2016, natural gas plants produced about a third of the electricity used by utilities, according the Energy Department.
This year, the number of natural-gas turbines producing power more than tripled to 2,300 megawatts, according EnergyEfficient.com, an industry-based website.
Natural gas turbines are more efficient than coal plants, because they burn natural gas at a lower pressure and temperature than coal.
This results in less energy loss, Buella said.
But this is not enough to justify the expense of new technologies like carbon capture and storage.
A natural gas system that uses carbon capture can capture and store more energy than a coal system that does not use carbon capture.
That means the technology has the potential to save energy and increase production efficiency.
The EPA has said that a carbon capture system can reduce emissions by up to 50 percent and the Department of Energy estimates that it can reduce electricity costs by 15 percent.
The cost to install and maintain a carbon capturing technology is higher, but Buell said it is worth it to reduce emissions.
“You want to make sure that you’re doing things in a way that is economically sound,” he added.
In addition to carbon capture, there are other technologies that are being tested and are on the horizon that can reduce the energy use of a natural-water system, such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, or water-splitting.
While energy efficiency can be used to improve a natural pipeline system or reduce the need for a gas-fueled vehicle, Bueshler said the most important thing to keep in mind is that energy efficiency doesn’t always translate to higher prices.
“What the industry is looking for is a competitive price,” he noted.
“This is the price that the consumer wants.”