1/ Once again the @BostonGlobe has oversimplified the debate of building pipelines to bring #natgas into NE, and it has resorted to ad hominem attacks on opponents: their politics are “faddish,” their motive a doctrinaire sense of “moral purity.” bit.ly/2DdZ2HZ #mapoli
2/ According to the Globe, opponents’ “abstinence-only ideology” is a lesson in the law of unintended consequences: insufficient pipeline capacity means LNG must be imported from abroad, or now be delivered perhaps by dangerous rail shipments, . . .
3/ and it means that coal & oil—fuels dirtier than gas—must be burned when gas supplies are constrained on cold winter days. (More on LNG, coal, & oil in a moment.) So, to sum up, the Globe’s position is “pipelines *good*; LNG, oil, coal, & sanctimony *bad*.”
4/ What is missing entirely from the Globe’s editorializing is any mention of the cost of the proposed pipelines, and the potential financial impacts those costs represent for utility customers. Let’s lay some metaphorical pipe on the subject...
5/ According to @EversourceCorp, @nationalgridus, & @Enbridge, the developers of the Access Northeast Pipeline, the cost of the project is $3.2B. Per a @SynapseEnergy report the cost of the project is $6.6B. bit.ly/2Fm6MxC
6/ $3.2B or $6.6B, or some sticker price in between, we can agree that the numbers are large, and if the project proceeds it will be paid by NE utility customers. Fine. We should expect a lot for that kind of money, and here is where the Globe’s editorial begins to fall short.
7/ Take LNG for example. The Globe decries the fact that NE now relies on Arctic-extracted, Russian LNG. Based on the editorial, Globe readers can be forgiven for believing that LNG imports are a recent phenomenon. . .
8/ . . . In fact, LNG has been delivered into NE for 47 years. (bit.ly/2DcCxTR). By 2010, the Everett LNG terminal had received *1,000* LNG cargoes. In 47 years two—count ‘em two—cargoes were Russian. In LNG terms that is the equivalent of a sparrow fart.
9/ Nevertheless, the Globe is right. The environmental impacts of Arctic gas extraction and LNG shipment are horrendous. And shipping LNG from other places around the world is more carbon-intensive, & it also externalizes the environmental impacts of LNG to those places as well.
10/ But do we import LNG from abroad—and do we face the prospect of bringing domestic U.S. gas into NE by rail—because we lack sufficient gas pipeline capacity? *No.* We import foreign LNG, and would have to ship domestic LNG by rail, because of the Jones Act. . .
11/ The Jones Act requires shipments between American ports to be made on American built ships, that are owned by Americans, and that are crewed by Americans. The Jones Act requirements means that the cost of shipping from one U.S. port to another is cost-prohibitive. . .
12/ . . . This means that U.S.-produced LNG can’t compete on price with foreign LNG, so we get our LNG from the Russian Arctic, not Louisiana. The Jones Act is also the reason U.S. LNG would be delivered by train, & not by tankers. . . (bloom.bg/2FDbNkQ)
13/ Is there enough U.S. LNG to meet NE’s needs? Yes. In 2016 the U.S. was a net importer of gas—2.6B cubic feet per day; by 2021 the U.S. will have the capacity to export 9.3B cubic feet over day. bit.ly/2oVhPU6 So, no Jones Act, no foreign LNG, no LNG by rail. . .
14/ And it goes without saying that the amendment or repeal of the Jones Act would be a LOT less expensive than the $3.2B-$6.6B that NE utility customers would have to pay for the Access Northeast pipeline.
15/. So much for LNG—what about all of that dirty coal and oil we’re burning here in NE because of environmentalists’ intransigent opposition to new gas pipelines? Once again, Globe readers can be forgiven for thinking we’re burning a *lot* of coal & oil. Truth is, we’re not. . .
16/ In 2017, of ALL the electricity that was produced by ALL of the electricity generating plants here in NE, exactly 1.6% of it was produced by coal, and 0.7% of it was produced by oil. Like Yogi said, you can look it up: bit.ly/2CXEW4S
17/ Misrepresentation of oil as a major source of electricity generation is repeated in the editorial in a link under the text “Keeping out pipelines has also meant that even new power plants in Massachusetts are planning to build higher-emitting oil generators as winter backup.”
18/ Follow the link & you’re brought to a page regarding @nrgenergy’s Canal Generating Station. Is this plant a “higher-emitting oil generator”? Kinda. In fact it is a “peaker” plant that will use *natural gas* as its primary fuel. It also uses solar to make electricity. . .
19/ But yes, Canal 3 can also be run on oil, but for no more than 30 days out of the year per the @MassDEP. bit.ly/2Fp94MF So Canal 3 is an oil generating plant 1/12th of the time, *at worst*. C’mon Globe! Really?
20/ (👀 20 is a new personal best I think.) . . . Then there is the question of the underutilization of *existing* gas pipelines. Both @FERC and Levitan & Assoc. concluded that @EversourceCorp’s & @AVANGRID’s underutilization of gas pipeline capacity . . .
21/ . . . did not have a an “anticompetitive” motive, & that the @EnvDefenseFund report that brought it to light (bit.ly/2BWmiOx) was “flawed,” but neither controverted the fact that when gas demand was at its highest, gas pipelines were underutilized.
22/ The underutilization of existing gas pipelines during the periods of greatest demand is evidence of market failure, and it calls out the need for improved rate designs to overcome it. The problem is incredibly complex, but again, . . .
23/ . . . consideration of a regulatory solution that encourages the full use of existing pipelines ought to come first, before NE utility customers are asked to pay $3.2B-$6.6B for a new gas pipeline.
24/ Proponents of new gas pipelines also like to say that constrained gas capacity results in higher electricity prices, and that is true, but it’s only true on the coldest winter days when the demand to use gas for heating takes priority over using gas to make electricity.
25/ And it’s true that NE electricity prices are the 2nd highest in the country, but *wholesale* electricity prices in NE have been trending down. @isonewengland reports NE’s 2017 wholesale electricity prices were the 2nd lowest since 2003 (bit.ly/2G3iCKe) . . .
26/ . . . . a result of milder weather, lower demand (energy efficiency), and reduced transmission congestion. @isonewengland has issued an Operational Fuel Security Analysis (bit.ly/2DdxDpQ) that forecasts grid reliabity, assuming no new gas pipelines. . .
27/ The report ran through 23 scenarios for the winter of 2024/25: all but 4 scenarios resulted in “involuntary load shedding,” a euphemism for rolling brown- and blackouts. So the concern about grid reliability in the future is a *genuine* concern.
28/ But are new pipelines the answer? Or increasing gas capacity along existing rights of way? Or rate designs that ensure that existing gas pipeline capacity is fully utilized? Or increased transmission infrastructure to bring more hydropower and renewables onto the grid? . . .
29/ Or demand response and other strategies to reduce peaks? The worst case scenario would be building a $3.2B-$6.6B pipeline that turns into a “stranded asset”: a pipeline that overbuilds capacity, is not ultimately needed to fully support grid reliability in 2024/25, . . .
30/ but that utility customers are still stuck paying for. Time was the Globe would publish editorials after doing a series of articles on a subject. In the absence of such reporting the Globe’s editorial on gas pipelines is just a misleading, bald assertion, & nothing more. ###

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More from @jglarusso

Jul 20, 2018
1/ .@isonewengland’s July 17 Newswire contains some insights regarding the performance of behind-the-meter (BTM) PV in its service territory during the recent 6/29-7/5 heatwave. bit.ly/2NurOd0
2/ The hour of highest demand (24,180 MW) occurred 7/5 between 5-6 p.m. Indeed, all of the daily peaks during the heatwave came in the late afternoon/early evening, between 4-7 p.m.
3/ Per the Newswire “[BTM PV generation] peaked each day at around 2 p.m. during the heat wave, providing approximately 2,000 MW [(i.e. 2 GW)] to homes and businesses with solar arrays.”
Read 22 tweets
Feb 14, 2018
1/ #Natgas pipelines vs. baby seals is a false dichotomy. Natgas pipelines vs. Russian LNG is a false dichotomy. This op-ed shouldn’t have been an op-ed, but a Spotlight series that fully informed the public, but the @BostonGlobe doesn’t have the chops. bit.ly/2BWPogN
2/ If the Globe did that Spotlight Series the first piece could have presented facts about NE’s energy needs, including its reliance on natural gas for both heating and electric generation. The gas constraint is quite real—no denying that.
3/ That first Spotlight piece could also have detailed the role energy efficiency, demand-side management, and renewables play in reducing the demand for natural gas power generation ...
Read 18 tweets

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