Natural gas: Canada’s preferred heating fuel

Did you know close to seven million Canadian households use natural gas as their main heating fuel?

In fact, when it comes to heating our homes, Canadians use natural gas more than any other fuel. And that makes perfect sense because, in Canada, natural gas is abundant and affordable. It’s also cleaner-burning than other kinds of fossil fuels, such as oil, propane and coal.

In this week’s blog post, we examine the advantages of using natural gas in Canadian homes.

 

6 reasons why natural gas has the advantage for home use

 

1. Natural gas is reliable

Homes that use natural gas for heating rarely face outages. This is critical because “natural gas systems are typically designed to exceed the demand expected on the coldest day.

2. Natural gas is affordable

Natural gas prices are currently at the lowest levels in five years. On average, if you use natural gas for heating, you’ll spend a little more than $1,000 per year for your total heating costs, depending on the region in which you live. That’s compared to about $3,400 per year for electricity users. Propane end users spend around $4,487 annually. Oil costs about $4,237 a year. And electric heat pumps will cost users about $2,000 a year.

3. Natural gas infrastructure is resilient

Most natural gas infrastructure, including transmission and distribution lines, is underground, which makes it less susceptible to adverse weather conditions.

4. There’s ample storage capacity for natural gas

At most times, there are approximately 90 days of natural gas demand already in storage. There’s currently no battery with that storage capacity that can be available on demand.

5. Natural gas is an important partner for intermittent electricity

Electricity producers can count on natural gas as a back-up fuel for intermittent renewables, such as wind and solar, and especially to help meet peak power demands on the system. That’s because they can quickly ramp up natural gas to generate electricity.

6. Serious cooks prefer natural gas

A variety of surveys conclude that serious cooks and professional chefs choose natural gas over other cooking fuels.

 

Despite the many benefits of natural gas as a fuel for household use, in recent times discussion of using electricity, instead of natural gas, for home heating and cooking has become more common.

Timothy M. Egan, President and CEO of the Canadian Gas Association shared some thoughts on those ideas:

  • “Presenting electrification as an option to reduce emissions without providing a clear picture of the risk to reliability and affordability, and without considering alternatives, does a disservice to Canadian energy consumers.
  • Reaching the government’s emission reduction targets will not be cheap under any scenario.
  • But it can be done at a significantly lower cost through a balanced approach that uses the natural gas system – one that delivers much more energy than the electric system – as part of a bigger full system effort.”

As Canadians look for ways to reduce our energy footprint, natural gas can play a critical role in a balanced energy system that’s structured to meet our future energy needs.