What's New at NGA?

November 16, 2017
FERC Allows Tennessee Gas Pipeline to Place Connecticut Expansion Project into Service
On November 9, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted the request of Tennessee Gas Pipeline to place into service the facility segment of the Connecticut Expansion Project in Hampden County, Massachusetts and Hartford County, Connecticut (Connecticut Loop). The FERC stated: "This authorization is granted on the basis of our October 18 and 19, 2017 compliance inspection and Tennessee's recent construction status report. We find that Tennessee has adequately stabilized the construction workspaces and that rehabilitation and stabilization of the construction work areas are proceeding satisfactorily and in compliance with the Order."

IEA Forecasts Global Growth for Natural Gas and Renewables, Decline for Coal
On November 14, the International Energy Agency released the latest edition of its World Energy Outlook 2017. Among the observations:
  • "The resurgence in oil and gas production from the United States, deep declines in the cost of renewables and growing electrification are changing the face of the global energy system and upending traditional ways of meeting energy demand."
  • "Compared with the past twenty-five years, the way that the world meets its growing energy needs changes dramatically in the New Policies Scenario, with the lead now taken by natural gas, by the rapid rise of renewables and by energy efficiency."
  • "As oil and coal fall back and renewables ramp up strongly, natural gas becomes the largest single fuel in the global mix in the Sustainable Development Scenario. Securing clear climate benefits from gas use depends on credible action to minimise leaks of methane - a potent greenhouse gas - to the atmosphere. Consumption of natural gas rises by nearly 20% to 2030 in the Sustainable Development Scenario and remains broadly at this level to 2040."
  • "Oil demand continues to grow to 2040, albeit at a steadily decreasing pace. Natural gas use rises by 45% to 2040; with more limited room to expand in the power sector, industrial demand becomes the largest area for growth."
  • "Renewables capture two-thirds of global investment in power plants to 2040 as they become, for many countries, the least-cost source of new generation."
The report can be found here:
http://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2017/november/a-world-in-transformation-world-energy-outlook-2017.html

Williams/Transco Files "Northeast Gateway" Project with FERC
On November 15, Williams Partners L.P. announced that Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco) has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking authorization for its Gateway Expansion Project, designed to create 65,000 dekatherms per day of firm transportation capacity for northeastern markets in time for the 2020/2021 winter heating season. Transco has executed precedent agreements with PSEG Power, LLC (PSEG) and UGI Energy Services, LLC for firm transportation service under the project. Once complete, the project will help meet the growing demand for natural gas by northeastern consumers in New Jersey and New York. PSEG supplies its affiliate Public Service Electric & Gas Company, which is New Jersey's largest provider of electric and gas service - serving 2.2 million electric customers and 1.8 million gas customers. UGI Energy Services supplies and markets natural gas and electricity to 40,000 customers across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. Subject to regulatory approval, the Gateway Expansion Project will consist of adding electric horsepower at an existing Transco compressor station in New Jersey, in addition to making modifications to two existing Transco meter stations. Virtually all of the project activities are proposed within Transco's existing rights of way and/or property boundaries. The certificate application reflects an expected capital cost of $84.6 million and a target in-service date of Nov. 1, 2020.

ISO-NE Releases "Regional System Plan"; Gas Percentage of Electric Generation Projected to Grow
On November 2, ISO New England Inc., the operator of the New England power system and wholesale electricity markets, today issued its 2017 Regional System Plan (RSP17), the biennial report that provides the foundation for long-term power-system planning in New England. The comprehensive report details power system needs for the next 10 years, through 2026, and how these needs can be addressed.

Regarding natural gas, the Plan states: "Natural-gas-fired generation's proportion of the system capacity mix is expected to grow from 44.5 % in 2017 to approximately 50.9% by 2020 and 56.0% by 2026. Further retirements of coal and oil generators are expected after 2020 due to generally low natural gas prices, renewable energy additions, and pending environmental regulations. The Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts is scheduled for retirement in 2019, and uncertainty surrounds the future of 3,300 MW from the region's remaining nuclear plants. Therefore, the current situation where natural gas fuel prices typically set the marginal price for wholesale electricity is projected to continue over the planning horizon."

New Jersey Resources Announces Acquisition of PA Pipeline from Talen Generation
On November 8, New Jersey Resources (NYSE: NJR) announced its subsidiary, Adelphia Gateway, LLC, has entered into an agreement with Talen Generation, LLC (Talen Generation), a subsidiary of Talen Energy Corporation, to purchase all of Talen Generation's membership interests in Interstate Energy Company LLC, which owns and operates an existing 84-mile pipeline in southeastern Pennsylvania, for an estimated $166 million, plus additional contingent payments of up to $23 million based on certain specified conditions. The transaction is expected to close following receipt of all necessary permits and regulatory actions, including those from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
NJR's Adelphia Gateway project will repurpose the southern 50-mile portion of the pipeline to flow natural gas and provide customers in the greater Philadelphia region with a needed, new source of clean, safe, low-cost supply. This innovative approach utilizes existing infrastructure to meet market demand with minimal new construction or impact to the environment. Once converted, the pipeline will be able to transport an incremental 250,000 dekatherms per day, approximately 91 million dekatherms per year, of natural gas to the greater Philadelphia market. For more information on the Adelphia Gateway project, visit AdelphiaGateway.com.

Several Northeast States Announce Framework to Address Advancing Clean Energy Transportation
On November 13, seven Northeast states (CT, DE, MD, MA, NY, RI, VT) and the District of Columbia released a joint statement on carbon emissions and the region's transportation system. The jurisdictions are undertaking a listening tour to hear ideas on how "we can speed the implementation of innovative transportation solutions that significantly reduce congestion and pollution, including preparing for a future with zero-emission vehicles and enhancing the availability of a diverse portfolio of alternative transportation services including high-quality public transportation, walking and biking." The joint statement can be found here:
http://www.transportationandclimate.org/northeast-and-mid-atlantic-states-seek-public-input-they-move-toward-cleaner-transportation-future

U.S. HHS Releases Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Funding for States
On October 20, the Office of Community Services (OCS), Division of Energy Assistance (DEA), of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced the initial release of approximately $3.03 billion of Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 regular block grant funding to LIHEAP grantees. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. The 9 Northeast states are receiving $899.4 million of the total allotment, as follows: CT, $67.2 million; ME, $34.9 million; MA, $122.9 million; NH, $23.2 million; NJ, $105.9 million; NY, $327.4 million; PA, $178.6 million; RI, $22.4 million; and VT, $16.9 million. Further information can be found at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/resource/fy-2018-funding-release#.Wfpl1xb54uo.twitter

U.S. EIA Releases Winter Fuels Outlook
On October 11, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its "Winter Fuels Outlook." Among the observations are:
  • "EIA forecasts that average household expenditures for all major home heating fuels will rise this winter because of expected colder weather and higher energy costs. Average increases vary by fuel, with natural gas expenditures forecast to rise by 12%, home heating oil by 17%, electricity by 8%, and propane by 18%. Most of the increase reflects expected colder weather rather than higher energy costs. A warmer-than-forecast winter would see lower increases in expenditures, and a colder-than-forecast winter would see higher increases in expenditures."
  • EIA data shows that there are over 1 million new homes heating with natural gas in the Northeast since 2009, and about 1.4 million fewer homes heating with oil.
  • EIA projects natural gas home heating in the Northeast to cost less this winter than homes heating with heating oil, propane or electricity.

Look for further details online: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/

NGA Issues Statement on Responsible Gas Utility Planning and Counters EDF Study on New England Energy Market
On October 12, the Northeast Gas Association (NGA) issued a statement in response to the release of a report by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on the gas and power market in New England. NGA stated in part: "Natural gas utilities in New England and nationally are responsible for ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to millions of consumers and businesses. The utilities understand the responsibility they have to fulfill. The utilities are regulated by state and federal agencies to ensure safe and reliable operations, and that includes ensuring they have adequate supplies for their customers during all conditions, including challenging weather - when home heating and industrial demand is at its peak. The report authors' claim that some natural gas and electric utilities in New England are systematically reserving excess natural gas pipeline capacity on the coldest winter days in order to increase the prices charged by a small portfolio of electric power plants is false and, frankly, ridiculous." The press release can be found online at: http://www.northeastgas.org/pdf/nga_gas_planning.pdf

Call Before You Dig!
NGA and its member companies remind homeowners and contractors to call 811 before they dig to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages. The main link for information is: http://call811.com. As well, each of the Northeast states has a local "One Call Center." They range from "Call Before You Dig" in Connecticut to "Dig Safely New York" to "One Call New Jersey" to "Dig Safe"a in five New England states to "Pennsylvania811". NGA has links to all the sites linked through the "Public Awareness" section of its web site, at http://www.northeastgas.org/call_centers.php
Utilize these important resources - be aware - and be safe!