Increasing electricity demand can likely be met without building new gas-fired power plants, according to a new report from Energy Innovation. The report also warns utilities’ “panicked rush” to build new methane gas plants will leave those utilities, their investors, and possibly their customers, paying the cost of “stranded assets.” Instead, the report argues, improving energy efficiency though improved building codes and appliance standards and incentives programs, along with building out renewable energy and storage capacity, is a better long-term way to prevent demand from outstripping supply.

Oil and gas companies, and many utilities (especially in the Southeast) have sought to exploit the proliferation of energy-gobbling Artificial Intelligence and data centers, along with EVs and the electrification of the broader economy, as justification for building new gas plants and infrastructure. The EI report comes as a new Global Energy Monitor report warns expansion of U.S. oil and gas extraction threatens to blow past the 1.5°C goal established by the Paris Agreement.

“It’s disheartening to see utilities doubling down on new gas,” Mike O’Boyle of Energy Innovation told E&E. “We don’t see that there’s a need for new gas.” (New gas plants unnecessary: E&E $, Utility Dive; Oil & gas operations: The Guardian, FT $)