While natural gas will remain an important fuel for power plants, natural gas will not maintain its current pace of growth, according to the International Energy Agency.
Natural gas-fired power will continue to grow at about 2.4 percent annually from 2013 to 2018, but this medium-term growth rate is actually lower than the IEA's growth rate of 2.7 percent predicted last year.
This slowdown in the "dash for gas" is blamed on weak European demand and sluggish production growth in Africa and the Middle East.
On the other hand, natural gas will find an important use in another industry: the transportation sector. According to the IEA, the glut of shale gas in the U.S. and tightening regulations in China is expected to impact the demand for oil — perhaps more so than the advent of biofuels or the electric vehicle industry.
“Even though we have revised our growth estimates downward, the ‘Golden Age’ of gas remains in full swing,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “Gas is already a major fuel in power generation, but the next five years will also see it emerging as a significant transportation fuel, driven by abundant supplies as well as concerns about oil dependency and air pollution. Once the infrastructure barriers are tackled, natural gas has significant potential for clean-energy use in heavy-duty transport where electrification is not possible.”
The International Energy Agency is an autonomous organization that works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond.