Environmental Effects of Natural Gas-Fired Generation

Environmental effects of natural gas generation and cogeneration are primarily greenhouse gas emissions from combustion and water use and pollution from waste heat cooling processes. Natural gas is the cleanest burning of the fossil fuels, with about half of the carbon dioxide emissions of coal and about two-thirds that of distillate fuel oil. In addition to carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds are also released.

When taking into account the full life cycle of natural gas, beyond simply the combustion of fuel into energy, there are environmental effects from the release or leakage of methane (also known as fugitive emissions) during the extraction, processing, transportation and storage of natural gas. In addition, drilling for natural gas and the construction of pipeline infrastructure have an adverse effect on the land, water, and wildlife.