The environmental left has been gleefully predicting and reporting that Hurricane Harvey, striking the heart of America’s natural gas infrastructure along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, would send natural gas prices skyrocketing. The underlying message was that Hurricane Harvey would illustrate why America should scale back on natural gas and invest more in wind and solar power. To the disdain of the environmental left, however, natural gas prices moved very little as Harvey pummeled Texas, and now sit even lower than any monthly average price since March.
Natural gas prices traded around $2.95 per million British thermal units in the week before Harvey made landfall in southeast Texas. Natural gas reached a peak closing price of $3.07 on September 1, several days after Harvey’s landfall. The environmental left and their media allies crowed that the modest price increase represented an economically harmful “spike” in natural gas prices. That very modest price increase lasted just one day, however, as natural gas closed at $2.97 the very next business day. As this article went to press on September 8, moreover, natural gas closed at $2.90 – 5 cents and 2% below what natural gas traded for before Hurricane Harvey hit.
In further context, natural gas in the months of April through July of this year averaged $3.10, $3.15, $2.98, and $2.98 per million British thermal units. Not only did Hurricane Harvey not cause any substantial spike in prices, but prices in the immediate aftermath of Harvey are now lower than has been the case for any month since March.
Against this backdrop, even the left-of-center Brookings Institution reports wind and solar power are substantially more expensive than natural gas power. Moreover, and unlike natural gas power, wind and solar power produced no usable power as Harvey hammered southeast Texas.
So much for the credibility of the environmental left and their mainstream media allies regarding natural gas price vulnerability.