A representative from a natural gas trade group showed up at a renewable energy conference in San Francisco on Thursday to promote this message: you need us and we should be friends.

Seeing someone from the American Gas Association on a panel at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum was surprising. The worlds of fossil fuels and renewable energy typically don’t mix — at least not at a clean power conference.

“The takeaway here is that the AGA is doing an outreach effort,” said Nancy Floyd, managing director of Nth Power and the moderator of the panel that included the AGA rep, after the panel discussion. “You can’t ignore what’s happening with natural gas.”

In recent years, the natural gas industry has successfully positioned itself as the more environmentally friendly form of fossil fuel, mostly because using natural gas to generate electricity produces less greenhouse gas emissions than burning coal. Coupled…

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