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Natural gas is a critical part of the U.S. transition to a decarbonized power sector, top executives from three major utilities agreed on Tuesday. But its role will decline over time, and gas power plants will have to adapt to new technologies and fuels to reduce the risk of becoming stranded assets, said the recently elected board members of the investor-owned utility advocacy group, Edison Electric Institute (EEI).
“There’s no way to get to net zero without gas transitioning and eventually being either fully captured in terms of carbon or replaced with a different fuel,” Gerry Anderson, executive chairman at DTE Energy, said Tuesday at EEI’s “Road to Net Zero” conference. “As we permit new natural gas turbines, I think all of us need to be aware that someday they better be flexible enough to accept carbon capture, or in some way flexible to accept hydrogen,” he continued.
Anderson was elected this week as the new chairman of EEI’s board, alongside two new vice chairmen who echoed the persisting importance of natural gas: Warner Baxter, chairman, president and CEO of Ameren Corp., and Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International.