The development of artificial intelligence (AI) is promoting the onset of a “golden era” for natural gas, stated Toby Rice, CEO of EQT (the largest gas producer in the USA), as quoted by the Financial Times (FT).

The U.S. government is promoting developers of clean energy for decarbonization, but experts believe that renewable energy sources cannot provide reliable supplies for data processing centers, reports the FT. The company Energy Capital Partners (ECP) told the publication that natural gas power generation will be crucial for these purposes.

“Gas is the only economically efficient energy production capable of ensuring reliable 24/7 supplies needed by large technology companies for AI development,” said Doug Kimmelman, founder of ECP.

According to the Financial Times, the need for electricity by data centers is rapidly increasing as cloud storage, cryptocurrency mining, and AI are putting more strain on networks. The publication notes that Microsoft is opening such centers worldwide every three days. Citing data from S&P Global Commodity Insights, FT points out that by 2035, these facilities will collectively consume almost one-tenth of the total U.S. electricity demand, or more than 480 TWh, compared to 4.5% in 2025. The International Energy Agency estimates that global electricity demand by data centers could exceed 1000 TWh by 2026, doubling the level of 2022 and equivalent to the power consumption in Germany.

According to federal forecasts, to meet demand in 2024 and 2025, 20 new gas-fired power plants will be commissioned, writes FT. However, S&P anticipates a reduction in gas-powered electricity generation by the end of the decade, to be replaced by clean energy.

“If you talk to the oil industry, they’ll tell you that the only way to meet this energy demand is to use fossil fuels, but many data center clients have committed to zero carbon emissions, so they’ll say that the energy must be renewable,” says Peter Herweck, a top executive at the French corporation Schneider Electric.

Rich Worberg, President of Siemens Energy North America, also doubted the rapid decline in gas usage. “I think that over time, this decline becomes increasingly remote,” FT quotes him as saying.