Article written by Ted Cady on a list serve resisting the proposed Northeast expansion for a frack gas pipeline.. He shows how natural gas is a bridge too far for our environment and economy.
Please do not forget the 2% tariff on electrical generation to pay for the pipeline. If a 2% tariff was placed on electrical generation and used to improve energy efficiency (instead of paying for the pipeline) the beneficial impact, according to what I have read, would greatly exceed any benefit from the pipeline. This is because the benefits are cumulative. Each year more improvements would be made. thus adding to the ones done in prior years. We could go to smart metering and other efficiencies that have significant beneficial impacts for the long term. The pipeline will depreciate and the each year’s gas will be used up and gone. In the end there will be no gas left in the Marcellus Play and we are left with an old leaky, potentially dangerous pipeline.
Regionally we do a lousy job of managing our fuels, especially for electrical generation. We have 1 active, but under used LNG terminal in Everett , 1 off shore buoy not used in years, another that has never been used, and 1 pipeline from Canaport LNG, St. John, New Brunswick that is only used in Winter for peaking power (It does not operate at all during most of the year, so its overall operating capacity is at about 10%). We need additional supplies for peaking power during cold periods. We used LNG for peaking last winter, which was very cold, and rates stayed relatively stable. So, clearly we can do it by better planning. This might involve building LNG storage facilities, as the UMass, Amherst heating plant and generating station has done, for some of the larger facilities. That is much cheaper than building a pipeline.
The electric company management model is outmoded. They have not figured out how to deal with alternative energy and energy conservation, and can only see their customer base eroding, leading to lower profits. Green Mountain Energy in Vermont is an electric company that has embraced alternative energy and is making money promoting it. That type of forward thinking management is what is needed. We do not need old think that wants to build more electrical generating capacity because that is the way it used to be done.
Back in the l970s we got into a lot of trouble because we became dependent on foreign oil (The Arab Oil Embargo). We should have learned to husband what energy resources we have. The Marcellus Play will run out in a few years. This will make us more dependent than ever on imported energy. We should import modestly to deal with peak use, but we should not sell to offshore users our energy future for immediate short term financial gain that benefits a few very wealthy corporations.
There has been talk of the gas pipeline as a bridge to supply energy until alternative energy and energy conservation fill the gap. That is hog wash. It will cause a significant delay in conservation and alternative energy efforts. The harsh fact is that we are still at the end of the pipeline. As Marcellus declines in output and other export facilities are built, such as the one in South Carolina, our natural gas prices will rise. This will be unfortunate for those companies that switched to gas because it was cheaper.
FN’s updated resource page:
Energy Pollution’s Impact On Environment