New England doesn’t need more gas pipelines: stockpile instead

Still more evidence that new natural gas pipelines are an unneeded boondoggle.

Kathryn R. Eiseman, Commonwealth Magazine, 20 January 2015, New gas pipelines can be avoided: Back-up fuel incentives are the way to go,

LAST WINTER’S NATURAL gas price spikes, and resultant electric rate hikes, continue to be used to justify the push for massive expansion of gas infrastructure. Yet a successful program to incentivize New England’s power generators to contract for back-up fuel for this winter undermines the argument for more pipelines. This winter’s lower wholesale gas and electric prices indicate that the rate hikes themselves could have been avoided had such measures been more fully implemented for the 2013-2014 winter.

Measures like contracting to buy gas from peak load plants that sometimes sat idle last winter. And measures like storing gas when it’s cheap to use in the winter.

In fact, ISO-NE intentionally excluded LNG storage incentives from last winter’s winter reliability program, telling the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that gas-market-related solutions “would lower gas prices and send the wrong signal about the relative scarcity of natural gas. These lower prices would also be reflected in the electricity market.” In other words, allowing prices to rise would help convince the public that we need more natural gas pipelines.

If snowy New England doesn’t need new pipelines for winter heat, it’s a safe bet the Sunshine State doesn’t, either.

In New England, just like with the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline in the southeast, it looks like the real boondoggle goal is LNG export:

The winter reliability program is currently scheduled to sunset in January 2018, the winter before two enormous gas pipeline projects are proposed to be completed — Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct and Spectra Energy’s Access Northeast, both of which would allow shale gas to be exported to Canada and shipped overseas. The consensus among energy economists, recently affirmed by the U.S. Energy Information Agency, is that domestic natural gas prices will rise, not fall, as exports increase.

That’s the same concensus document from eia I previously posted.

No new pipelines! Conservation, efficiency, storage, and lets get on with solar energy.

-jsq

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