The US electric utility industry’s “rush to natural gas” for power generation through 2030 could prove costly for its consumers and investors, given ongoing advances in cheaper renewable energy and distributed energy resource (DER) technologies, according to a new Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) report.

Electricity generators may be committing customers and shareholders to as much as $1trn in future gas-fired power plant investment and fuel costs, when renewables and DERs already offer lower rates and emissions-free energy while delivering all the grid reliability services that new facilities can, it contends.