Groebner, a manufacturers’ representative and distribution company, partners with natural gas utility and contractor customers to enhance their success. As third-generation president of her family business, Carissa Skorczewski carries the mantle her grandfather built four decades ago. She has been a transformative figure in the energy sector, modernizing many critical systems and policies within the organization as it thrives and scales into a national brand. Below, Skorczewski shares her insights on the benefits of natural gas as a clean-burning and efficient fuel source.
MPT: Walk us through some of the history and uses of natural gas.
Carissa Skorczewski: For years, natural gas has been a reliable energy source for the United States—emissions continue to decrease even as usage goes up, safety rates are 99.9 percent, natural gas is local, 92 percent is produced domestically. As utilities move toward a search for sustainable energy, great advancements and improvements have been made in the world of natural gas delivery. Natural gas is cost-effective, clean, and safe. With modernization and new technologies, natural gas continues to be an important path to green energy.
MPT: What are some of the main benefits natural gas provides?
Carissa Skorczewski: Natural gas is a clean-burning and efficient fuel source that will lead us into the next era of heating and power. According to the American Gas Association, 187 million Americans use natural gas and a new residential customer signs up for natural gas service every minute. Homes using natural gas for heating, cooking, and clothes drying save an average of $1,041 per year on power bills.
MPT: How does natural gas use relate to carbon emission concerns?
Carissa Skorczewski: Natural gas has hit a thirty-year low in emissions thanks to increases in efficiency and growth of renewable sources and management. Emissions from natural gas distribution systems have declined 69 percent since 1990. Carbon dioxide released from homes that use natural gas are 22 percent lower than an all-electric home. Plus, Energy Star natural gas homes can have a carbon footprint that is 19 percent lower than those with a heat pump and 64 percent lower compared to an electrical resistance furnace.
America’s natural gas utilities are working to expand low- and zero-carbon energy technologies and have invested $125 million in development of systems and equipment to reduce emissions. Since 1990, gas mains made of more modern materials have tripled, which means safer delivery and improved management of this vital natural resource, and utilities invest $4.3 million a day in energy efficiency programs. As renewable natural gas (RNG) is captured, utilities are now able to offer this carbon-neutral option to customers through their current pipeline system.
MPT: How would you describe the future of natural gas?
Carissa Skorczewski: The natural gas industry is constantly evolving and driving innovation. Natural gas is also abundant. There is more than 100 years of domestic supply which can be extended with exciting advancements and sustainable practices. Revolutionary developments have already been implemented or are coming soon. For example, liquid natural gas is natural gas that has been liquefied through super-cooling. LNG is safer and easier to transport and is 600 times smaller in volume than in its gaseous form. This makes it ideal for shipping and trade.
Another tactic, hydrogen-blending, produces hydrogen through clean pathways and then injects a small amount of hydrogen into the natural gas pipeline. Hydrogen blends can make natural gas more efficient, lowering emissions and generating heat and power more effectively.