Posted: Thursday, January 8, 2015 12:20 am
By Christian M. Wade Statehouse Reporter
BOSTON — The natural gas industry is sparring with environmentalists and others over whether demand for the fossil fuel is being exaggerated to boost support for a 400-mile natural gas pipeline across northeast Massachusetts, including part of the Merrimack Valley.
Industry officials have long argued that New England’s electricity market is strained, in part, by a lack of transmission lines to bring gas to power plants, many of which have shifted from coal burning in recent years.
A lack of pipeline capacity has led to higher energy bills, they argue, even as wholesale prices for natural gas have dropped nationally.
Environmentalists, however, say demand for natural gas in Massachusetts is over stated. They want incoming Gov. Charlie Baker to pursue solar, wind and other renewable power sources.
The debate has intensified in recent weeks as both sides await a much-delayed environmental study, commissioned by outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick, to estimate the state’s natural gas need.
Preliminary findings last month suggest the state faces a shortfall of 600 million to 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas on peak winter days. By 2030, that deficit will grow to 1.2 billion to 2.2 billion cubic feet per day.
The early report suggests enough demand to require additional natural gas lines to supply power plants.
But state officials put the brakes on releasing a final report by Synapse Energy Economics, a private consulting firm, following an outcry from environmental groups. Some cite errors and omissions in the data and calculations, tipping the results in favor of the industry.
“It’s become a report about how much gas is needed, rather than whether it is needed,” said Rosemary Wessel, founder of a Western Massachusetts group that opposes the pipeline. “The results were totally skewed.”
Sign in2 people listeningRob 11
Post comment as…
Newest | Oldest
Rob 11 2 days ago
Visit http://www.nofrackedgasinmass.org to get the facts!
Rob 11 2 days ago
OK, so here’s the problem. First, by 2030, who knows which energy will be cheapest? Can’t count on what they say we will need 15 years in the future, with the price of a barrel of oil going down into the 30’s everyone will probably switch to burning OIL! Second, they “claim” we need an extra .6BCF per day. The pipeline is sized to carry 2.2 BCF/day. Most of this gas is slated to go to Canada or Beverly MA where the gas will be liquefied to load on ships to sell to Europe where they pay 2x what we pay, so.. supply and demand economics would indicate we will end up paying MORE!! NOBODY, not even Kinder Morgan can guarantee the pipeline will lower gas prices, the pipeline doesn’t dictate pricing, the market does, so that’s a load of hogwash.
Next point: The Lynnfield Lateral, and Peabody Lateral, a 22-24″ fracked gas pipeline will extend from Dracut through Andover, North Reading, Lynnfield, Peabody, Danvers, and into Beverly. This is an EXPORT PIPELINE. Eminent Domain is being used to take land from homeowners for this EXPORT pipeline which does nothing for Massachusetts citizens. This should be outlawed, it’s outright criminal. This is not what eminent domain was supposed to be used for. I can’t believe FERC would approve this and allow them to take our land citing eminent domain, when it’s so Kinder Morgan can sell gas to Europe!!!
Next point, the maps of the pipeline currently show the Peabody Lateral passing directly through the groundwater zone of influence for the Town of Lynnfield water supply wells, so if there is a leak, the town well will be contaminated and condemned.
Next point, has anyone noticed the price of a barrel of oil has dropped 50% since last winter?!? Experts also claim the price of a barrel of oil is going to drop below $30 per barrel!!!
Next point, the peak demand / shortage of gas in the area is limited to less than 30 days per year, this can be satisfied with liquefied natural gas tanks, like the one off the expressway in Dorchester. You fill the tanks in the summer, then use them for peak periods. Problem solved.
The map currently shows the pipeline right through my parent’s 1.4 acre property in Lynnfield, with a 24″ fracked gas pipeline at high pressure (800 – 1500 psi) about 35′ from their bedroom, if there was a gas leak near their house, my family would be killed instantly! It’s all about big business, profits, and shareholders, nothing to do with helping Massachsetts Citizens. Kinder Morgan is not your friend.