September 13

Natural Gas Pipelines Would Ease New England’s Chronic Energy Woes

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Federal regulators convened to discuss New England’s historic energy reliability problems as the winter months approach, but New York politicians have repeatedly blocked pipelines that would safely carry affordable and reliable natural gas from neighboring Pennsylvania and easily solve the region’s chronic fuel shortages and seasonal price spikes. 

Consumers in New England rely on natural gas for 53% of electricity and often find themselves turning to places like Trinidad & Tobago – and occasionally even Russia – to meet rising needs for the critical fuel. In late August, Boston’s Everett facility imported its 9th cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the region prepares for cold weather.  

And too often, residents, businesses and non-profit entities turn to burning fuel oil to meet their energy needs, leading to increased pollution and disproportionate health impacts on both senior citizens and area youth. 

This expensive, far less environmentally friendly option is unnecessary considering the world’s largest natural gas resource base sits within a day’s drive of many of those states.  

“Rather than hoping to get their hands on an LNG tanker when in a bind, New England could expand American energy infrastructure and change course for future generations,” as Amy Andryszak, CEO of INGAA, recently penned in the Boston Herald. 

Projects like the Constitution Pipeline or the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project would have bridged the gap between Appalachia’s abundant supply and New England’s high demand, yet too many elected officials continuously thumb their nose at any large infrastructure project to score easy political points. 

Consider Senator Ed. Markey (D-Mass.), who in late July openly called for the cessation of a permitting framework (NWP 12) that’s essential to streamlining the approval process for infrastructure projects, is now begging the Biden Administration for band-aid fixes like releasing resources from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve. 

“With lower inventories of crude oil, propane, and natural gas and the continued global disruption caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine contributing to a sharp rise in residential energy costs, we urge the administration to closely monitor the energy needs of the Northeast and release stock from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve,” Sen. Markey wrote in a letter alongside Sen. Hassan (D-NH). 

New Yorkers and New Englanders, though, are left paying the price of these deeply misguided policies, as they face unnecessarily higher energy costs and reliability challenges.  

“People are going to be really upset this winter when they realize that their utility bills are up, not because we don’t have low-cost gas and not because we’re exporting it on a LNG basis but because we simply keep standing in our own way to get critical pipeline infrastructure built,” Williams Cos. CEO Alan Armstrong said.  

Reliance on higher-emitting fuel oil and foreign imports are counterintuitive to environmental progress. The region’s power grid operator, ISO-New England, even brought up this point ahead of FERC’s meeting, noting “when reliability suffers, the clean energy transition suffers.” 

Indeed, and as it’s been witnessed across the country, rapid and dramatic changes to the fuel mix require natural gas to maintain baseload generation while driving environmental progress.  

“New England’s ability to make a timely transition to lower emissions energy hinges on the flexibility and reliability of quick-ramping natural gas and sufficient natural gas capacity to handle increased ramping demand,” as the heads of API, INGAA, NGSA, and the APGA said in a joint statement to FERC. 

These important and timely conversations regarding America’s infrastructure needs are among what attendees at SHALE INSIGHT® 2022 will discuss with industry stakeholders. A fireside chat with representatives from MPLX and former FERC Chairman & Commissioner, Neil Chatterjee, will explore the hurdles barring the U.S. from achieving a more secure and sustainable energy future.  

Source: Marcelluscoalition.org


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