Nashville, TN – Thanks to the availability of low-cost natural gas and investment in related infrastructure, Tennessee’s families and businesses saved more than $14 billion between 2008 and 2018, according to a new report released by Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA). Households saved over $3.8 billion and commercial and industrial users saved more than $10.5 billion, according to the report, entitled “Natural Gas Fuels Growth and Opportunity for Tennessee.”
The report underscores the critical role affordable energy and natural gas have played in Tennessee’s past economic growth before our recent economic uncertainties. The turmoil caused by COVID-19 has shown how essential it is to our national supply chain and manufacturing infrastructure – particularly in attracting advanced manufacturing jobs.
Energy touches every aspect of the lives of families and is woven into the fabric of our economy. During these tough times, this new report helps to remind us of exactly why we need to have a balanced energy policy and how continuing to invest in affordable natural gas infrastructure will improve and expand service to help Tennessee be poised to seize development opportunities to help get it back on track and recover.
For instance, natural gas availability was critical in attracting the construction, operation and expansion of the Volkswagen Assembly Plant in Chattanooga – which supports over 16,400 jobs, provides nearly $74 million in local tax revenue and over $8.56 billion in state economic activity. It has been critical for the facility’s recent announcement to expand and invest another $800 million in the Chattanooga area where natural gas will be helping produce electric vehicle manufacturing.
Brydon Ross, CEA’s Vice President of State Affairs, said “This new report shines an important light on the incredible impact natural gas is having on the lives of everyone across Tennessee. Not only are continued investments critical in helping to fuel economic development, but they are charting a course for a cleaner, more environmentally responsible and more prosperous tomorrow.”
“Whether through business, commerce, harvesting, or home use, we all depend on energy. It’s also an essential component of an economic recovery. That’s why we need to support U.S. energy in all forms while we continue to advance our world-leading environmental progress – it’s key to us being prepared and having the energy we need. Tennesseans can have assurances that natural gas is not only fueling their lives, it’s leading to a cleaner future and more opportunity for all.”
Highlights from the report include:
Tennessee’s substantial growth before the COVID-19 downturn was aided by the availability of reliable and affordable natural gas that has saved households, businesses and manufacturers more than $14.3 billion from 2008-2018. Residential users alone saved almost $3.8 billion. Based on current population estimates, this equals more than $555 per citizen. Commercial and industrial natural gas users saved more than $10.5 billion combined.
- Tennessee’s $56 billion manufacturing sector, which provides over 15% of the state’s economic output, is vitally dependent on natural gas. The state exports over $24 billion in manufactured goods and the industrial sector is the largest consumer in the state needing 148 billion cubic feet of gas per year. To put that number in perspective, 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas can power over 24,000 homes for an entire year.
- Robust natural gas supplies and continued investments in infrastructure help avoid bottlenecks and keep natural gas prices down across Tennessee. Since 2008, the industrial natural gas price has declined by 75% and citygate prices – the wholesale price of natural gas plus the cost of pipeline transmission – has declined by nearly two-thirds, according to federal data.
- Gas utilities have invested these savings to upgrade and modernize their infrastructure, while customers are still enjoying historically low prices. For example, Chattanooga Gas customers pay roughly 60% less for gas today than during peak levels in 2008.
- Natural gas availability and infrastructure investment has been critical to growth and opportunity in Tennessee and is a linchpin in the recent economic success of the Chattanooga region with the creation and support of at least 18,475 jobs and over $2.5 billion in local investment since 2011.
- Despite tremendous economic and population growth since 1990, the air in Tennessee is getting cleaner and carbon emissions are on the decline. From 1990-2017, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have declined over 6% due in large part to the expanded use of natural gas and related investments. From 1990 to 2019, Tennessee’s emissions of key pollutants have decreased across the board:
- 75% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx)
- 97% reduction in sulfur dioxide (SO2)
- 61% reduction in volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- 39% reduction in fine particulate matter (PM2.5)
- 51% reduction in coarse particulate matter (PM10)
- Some regions, such as Chattanooga, are seeing significant drops in emissions. From 2008-2018 the city’s greenhouse gas emissions declined more than 25% while the GDP grew by almost 45% and the population grew more than 14%. During this same time frame, residential and commercial natural gas use increased by 2% and 5.5% respectively, as Chattanooga Gas was investing in its infrastructure modernizations.
To view the report, click here.