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Natural gas industry faces scrutiny following Texas storm

The natural gas industry is facing scrutiny in light of the Texas storm. Yahoo Finance's Akiko Fujita shares the details.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: I want to shift gears over to a story we've been covering in Texas and other Midwestern states there, this power awkward position, considering the fact that Texas really does rely so much on natural gas. And Akiko, you've been looking at kind of the natural gas industry's role in light of all that and where it goes from here.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, Zack, we were talking about this earlier this week. It's been interesting to see the finger pointing that has happened in the aftermath of these power outages, as we often see it, after some natural disasters. But I've been looking through the numbers here that's provided by the Energy Information Administration. And it really does highlight what you just said about just the dominance of fossil fuels within Texas.

This is the look at Texas' net electricity generation, so which source generates the most electricity. The very top bar you see there is natural gases. So regardless of what we have heard from the likes of Texas Governor Abbott talking about the frozen wind turbines contributing to the outage, there's no really going around the fact that the failures in the natural gas system contributed to the scale of the outage that we saw.

And the interesting backdrop to all of this is that we have seen the natural gas industry increasingly face a lot of skepticism about the claims that they are, in fact, a cleaner fuel energy. Because at the end of the day, while it is much cleaner than coal, it still is generated by fossil fuels. And what we've seen nationally are these local fights that have been popping up to ban natural gas hookups.

We've already seen that in more than 40 cities in California adapt some type of ban on natural gas hookups. We saw earlier this year New York City Mayor de Blasio talking about a potential ban on new developments. We've seen Seattle pass a similar law. We've seen Denver as well. So there does seem to be a lot of momentum building in this push to electrification.

And the American Gas Association says, of course, that they've got 180 million Americans who use natural gas. It's not feasible to transition completely to renewables. But it does feel like this fight that has kind of been brewing under the surface in these local markets have now kind of spilled over in Texas, as we've seen this huge failure in the powers there.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, it's a good piece to point out there. You know, it's all-- each form of energy carries its own emissions. And, you know, it's all kind of a riding scale-- natural gas cleaner, as you pointed out, than oil. But interesting to see kind of the role of natural gas failing in Texas and the awkward position that we found a lot of politicians in when they were describing those failures relative to the renewables. But at the very least, we did see Texas just a short moment ago call off that emergency. It says its grid is back to normal. So there's that positive to focus in on.