Natural gas infrastructure plays a critical role in Kentucky. In 2017, 79 percent of Kentucky’s net electricity generation was still coal-fired, the fourth-largest share of any state, but a record 13 percent of Kentucky’s net generation was natural gas-fired.
Since 2009, both the electricity sector and industrial sectors in Kentucky have experienced increased consumption of natural gas, primarily due to production advances that resulted in lower natural gas prices.
Infrastructure encompasses both storage and delivery of natural gas. According to the Energy Information Administration, underground natural gas storage is the use of sub-surface facilities for storing gas that has been transferred from its original location.
The facilities are usually hollowed-out salt domes, natural geological reservoirs (depleted oil or gas fields), or water-bearing sands topped by an impermeable cap rock (aquifer).
In addition to storage, delivery is a key infrastructure component. Pipelines are the delivery mechanism for natural gas and are a continuous pipe conduit, complete with such equipment as valves, compressor stations, communications systems, and meters, for transporting natural and/or supplemental gas from one point to another, usually from a point in or beyond the producing field or processing plant to another pipeline or to points of use.
In Kentucky, underground natural gas storage is composed of 23 underground reservoirs. Twenty of those are depleted fields with the other three being aquifers.
A majority of the reservoirs are found in the western part of Kentucky. These storage fields represent 221,723 million cubic feet of capacity. Kentucky’s working capacity represents the volume of total natural gas storage capacity that contains natural gas available for withdrawal and for 2016, Kentucky’s working capacity was 107,572 million cubic feet or about 2.23% of the total U.S. working capacity.
Michigan, Texas, and Louisiana represent the top three states for working capacity of natural gas nationally. In addition, Kentucky natural gas pipeline infrastructure spans the state, totaling more than 3,330 miles of pipeline. You can click on an interactive map here.