More than 3,000 MW of new, natural gas-fired generating capacity is either under construction in New England or will be soon, but some of the gas pipeline projects that would ease long-standing constraints into and through the six-state region have hit rough patches. Kinder Morgan in mid-April suspended plans for its Northeast Energy Direct project, a “greenfield” pipeline across Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, and a few days later the state of New York denied the co-developers of the already-delayed Constitution Pipeline—a key link between the Marcellus and New England--a needed water quality permit. The fates of some other major projects in the Northeast are uncertain too. Today, we provide an update on pipelines in the land of Yankees and Red Sox.
We’ve written often about gas pipeline constraints to and through New England, a region with less than one-third the area of Texas but nearly 15 million people, the vast majority of whom believe that Fenway Park is heaven on earth. As we said in our Drill Down reports on the subject (Please Come to Boston and 50 Ways to Leave the Marcellus), New England has been adding a lot of new gas-fired generating capacity, but only modest enhancements have been made to the gas pipeline network that serves the region. And, as we blogged about in Polar Vortex Workaround, in the unusually cold winter of 2013-14, the lack of sufficient pipeline capacity to meet demand during periods of very high demand sent natural gas prices soaring as local distribution companies (LDCs) with firm transportation contracts took most of the gas and owners of many gas-fired power plants either scrambled for deliverable, high-priced gas or switched to firing their units with fuel oil.
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