Opportunities for Clean Energy in Natural Gas Well Operations

Kathleen Krah, Sean Ericson, Xiangkun Li, Opeoluwa Olawale, Ricardo Castillo, Emily Newes, Jill Engel-Cox

Research output: NRELPresentation


The oil and gas industry is increasingly seeking operational improvements to reduce both costs and emissions while improving resilience against electric grid outages. This study describes techno-economic analysis of opportunities for distributed energy generation and storage technologies to support companies' energy cost savings, clean energy, and energy resiliency goals. Specifically, the analysis evaluates solar photovoltaics (PV), distributed wind energy, and battery energy storage at hypothetical upstream well sites in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, both grid-connected and off-grid. Results indicate opportunity for solar PV to reduce operational costs. Additionally, these technologies reduce the site's consumption of grid electricity and natural gas and thus can help reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions associated with electricity and natural gas consumption. For each emissions reduction scenario, a cost of avoided emissions was calculated; these values can be compared to internal organizational value placed on emissions reductions, compared to other emissions reduction strategies such as energy efficiency, reducing flaring, and direct carbon capture and sequestration, and compared to existing (albeit limited) U.S. carbon markets such as California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Results indicate that the associated costs of emissions reductions via distributed renewables are competitive with these options and markets. The study also explores the ability of these electric clean energy technologies to support site resiliency against utility outages.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePresented at the 14th Annual IEEE International Systems Conference, 24-27 August 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A50-77465


  • emissions
  • integration
  • oil and gas
  • renewable energy
  • resiliency
  • techno-economic optimization


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