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Disadvantages of Natural Gas: What They Don’t Tell You

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Natural gas, as a widely used energy source, is considered a relatively clean and efficient option. However, in addition to its advantages, it also has some disadvantages that cannot be ignored, which are often overlooked or not given enough attention. Today, let’s talk about the major disadvantages of natural gas as an energy source.

Introduction to Natural Gas

Natural gas is a naturally occurring gaseous resource found underground in the earth and consists primarily of methane (CH4), as well as smaller amounts of ethane, propane, and other hydrocarbon gases. The name comes from the fact that it is not synthetic or processed but forms naturally in the Earth’s underground rock formations.

The formation of natural gas is a long and complex process. It is formed when ancient organic material, including plants, animals, or microorganisms, breaks down and is transformed in a high-temperature, high-pressure underground environment. This process takes millions of years and gradually converts organic matter into natural gas, forming natural gas reservoirs underground.

As of 2023, the world’s natural gas reserves are estimated to be around 197.1 trillion cubic meters. Of these, Russia has the largest natural gas reserves, accounting for nearly a quarter of the total global reserves. These reserves are located in different formations around the world and are one of the important energy resources that are widely used for power generation, heating, industrial production, and transportation.

Cons of Natural Gas

Advantages of Natural Gas

Before disclosing the cons, I would like to talk about the main advantages of natural gas, which will help you to look at natural gas in a more dialectical way instead of remembering only its disadvantages.

One of the biggest pros of natural gas is the abundance of reserves in the United States, especially with the shale gas revolution. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. has natural gas reserves for more than 90 years at current usage levels, which provides energy security and reduces dependence on imported fuels.

In addition to its ample supply, natural gas has low carbon dioxide emissions, about 50 percent less than coal and 30 percent less than oil. This makes it one of the lowest emitting fossil fuels and plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, due to its abundant production, natural gas prices have remained relatively low and stable, making it an affordable option for consumers.

It’s also worth noting that natural gas-fired power plants can provide stable, 24/7 power production, unlike some renewable energy sources that are more affected by weather conditions. This reliability makes natural gas an ideal partner for intermittent renewable energy sources and contributes to approximately 43% of the U.S. electricity supply.

On top of that, natural gas has a better safety record with less risk associated with its extraction, transportation, and use than other fossil fuels. This relative safety is one of the main reasons for its growing popularity in the energy market.

Natural Gas Reserves US
Natural Gas Reserves US

Disadvantages of Natural Gas

Okay, so it’s time to get down to business and what we’re writing this blog about, what are the unmentioned disadvantages of natural gas?

Insufficient Renewable Energy Substitute

While natural gas is considered a relatively clean fuel, it is still a fossil fuel that relies on limited underground resources. Due to its unsustainable output, natural gas has limitations in terms of renewable energy substitutability as reserves are depleted. For the energy transition and climate change mitigation, natural gas alone is not enough.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The combustion of natural gas emits greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, which, although less than coal and oil, can still have a negative impact on climate change. Methane in particular is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, with a potential greenhouse effect several times greater than that of carbon dioxide.

Leakage Risks

There is a risk of leakage during the transportation and storage of natural gas. Aging pipelines and facilities, accidental damage, or unintended leaks can lead to safety hazards and environmental contamination. Methane leaks are of particular concern as they are not only harmful to the climate but can also cause explosions and fires.

Storage Challenges

The storage of natural gas requires special facilities and technology. While underground gas storage is one of the main storage methods, it is expensive to build and operate and can have an impact on groundwater sources and geological structures.

Air Pollution

Despite being relatively clean, the combustion of natural gas still releases some pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. These pollutants have a negative impact on air quality and human health, especially the harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be produced during the production and use of natural gas.

Pipeline Construction is Expensive

The construction of natural gas pipeline networks requires huge investments, which increase the cost of the energy system and can lead to environmental damage and land use issues. In addition, the construction of natural gas pipelines can trigger land acquisition and community protests.

natural gas pipeline

Fossil Fuel Dependence

Natural gas, while a relatively cleaner fuel, is still a fossil fuel, dependent on limited underground resources. Its use is still tied to the process of extracting, processing, and combusting fossil fuels, and it is not possible to move away from fossil fuel dependence entirely.

Fracking Raises Concerns

Fracking is used to extract shale gas, but the technique can cause problems such as earthquakes, groundwater contamination, and geologic changes, posing potential threats to the environment and communities.

Highly Flammable

Natural gas is a highly flammable gas that, if not handled or transported correctly, can lead to serious accidents such as explosions and fires, resulting in injuries and property damage.

Long Processing Times

The processing of natural gas is relatively long and requires several steps to reach a usable state. Each stage, from extraction to transportation to processing, requires time and resources, increasing costs and energy consumption.

High Price Volatility

Natural gas prices are affected by a number of factors, such as supply and demand, geopolitical factors, and seasonal variations, so there is a high degree of price volatility. This creates uncertainty for consumers and producers and may have an impact on economic stability.


While natural gas itself is not harmful to humans, toxic substances such as hydrogen sulfide in its composition may be harmful to the environment and human health. In particular, toxic gases and chemicals may be released during the extraction and processing of natural gas, posing a risk to workers and local communities.

Alternative Energy: Solar Panels Can Also Generate Electricity

Unlike natural gas, wind and solar energy are clean, renewable sources of energy, which means less pollution, sustainability and a higher return on investment. Natural gas as an important energy source for power generation is likely to be gradually replaced by solar energy in the future, and solar panels are one of the key components of solar power that can fundamentally avoid the impact of natural gas’s shortcomings.

HP S 1

The Sungold portable 200 watt solar panel integrates cutting-edge SunPower solar cells, boasting an impressive efficiency of up to 24.4%. Its foldable design and adjustable kickstand at the back offer versatility, allowing users to optimize panel angles for maximum efficiency.

  • Superb Efficiency: Employing SunPower solar cells, Sungold solar panels achieve an outstanding power generation efficiency of 24.4%, ensuring stable output even in low-light conditions.
  • Foldable Flexibility: Designed with foldability in mind, the panels provide enhanced flexibility for outdoor and off-grid applications, enabling easy transportation, storage, and installation.
  • Versatile Applications: Ideal for various settings including off-grid homes, RVs, commercial vehicles, boats, and outdoor camping, Sungold’s high-power series of portable 200 watt solar panels cater to diverse needs.
  • Reliable Durability: Each kit comes equipped with a durable canvas protective cover, ensuring longevity and resilience against weather elements. The weatherproof back sheet is built to endure for up to 10 years, backed by a 5-year warranty on materials and craftsmanship.

Compared to natural gas, solar systems are less expensive to install, all the work can essentially be done on the ground, and the process of generating electricity from solar energy is free of the threats posed by fracking and flammability.

FAQ: Negative Impacts of Natural Gas Energy

1. What are the negative impacts of natural gas energy?

Natural gas contributes to climate change through methane emissions, pollutes water sources due to hydraulic fracturing, disrupts ecosystems through habitat destruction, and emits air pollutants harmful to human health despite being cleaner than coal and oil.

2. Why is natural gas not a good energy source?

Despite being cleaner than other fossil fuels, natural gas is finite, contributes to climate change, perpetuates reliance on fossil fuels, and poses risks to water, air, and ecosystems throughout its production and use.

3. What are the problems with natural gas production?

Challenges in natural gas production include excessive water usage, chemical contamination of water sources, inadequate wastewater disposal leading to environmental damage, and the risk of induced seismic activity from wastewater injection.

4. Is natural gas harmful to use?

While natural gas combustion produces fewer pollutants than coal and oil, its extraction and production processes still have significant negative impacts on the environment and human health, making it unsustainable in the long term without proper mitigation measures.


While natural gas has been widely embraced as a relatively clean and efficient energy source, it’s crucial to recognize and address its significant disadvantages. Despite its advantages such as abundant supply, lower carbon emissions compared to coal and oil, and reliability in power generation, natural gas presents challenges that are often overlooked.

The reliance on finite fossil fuel resources, emission of greenhouse gases including methane, leakage risks, storage challenges, air pollution, high infrastructure costs, and environmental concerns associated with extraction techniques like hydraulic fracturing underscore the limitations and drawbacks of natural gas.

In light of these disadvantages, it becomes imperative to explore and invest in cleaner and renewable energy alternatives like solar power. Solar energy offers a sustainable solution with minimal environmental impact, higher return on investment, and versatile applications across various settings. With advancements in solar panel technology and decreasing installation costs, transitioning towards renewable energy sources presents a viable path toward a more sustainable and resilient energy future. By prioritizing renewable energy adoption, we can mitigate the adverse effects of fossil fuel dependency and pave the way for a cleaner and greener tomorrow.

sungold logoWe are Sungold Solar, founded in 2008, a portable solar panel manufacturer and off-grid solar system provider integrating R&D, production, sales and service.  Specialized in providing innovative off-grid solar system solutions for 16 years.


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