Help No Fracked Gas in Mass / Berkshire Environmental Action Team
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Spectra blue; Kinder Morgan red
Our Current Mission: To stop the Kinder Morgan Connecticut Expansion and the Spectra pipeline projects in Massachusetts by providing an informational hub and networking information to by help citizens stay informed and engaged in the regulatory and legislative process.
Our Broader Mission: Originally created to stop the now-defeated Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, our mission continues to be to stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the Northeast states and to promote energy efficiency and sustainable, renewable sources of energy and local, permanent jobs in a clean energy economy.
Why we oppose further pipeline expansion:
DEMAND IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS
Studies commissioned by NESCOE and the Massachusetts Attorney General showed that if current levels of state energy efficiency programs continue, there is no need for additional natural gas infrastructure even with economic growth taken into account, yet ISO New England and NESCOE are calling for more pipeline capacity.
The need for more capacity has been cited as peak demand during cold weather when gas for heating and gas for electric generation compete for existing pipeline capacity. These conditions only happen for a few hours a day, about 10-27 days a year, and it has never led to a dip into our electric generation buffer (the extra electric capacity ISO-NE likes to keep on hand), let alone actual electric demand.
We’ve also discovered that ISO New England has been issuing “Minimum Generation Emergency Warnings.” These are times when consumers were using so little electricity that the gird operator had to ask power plants to NOT generate electricity. As we understand it, this happens far, far more often than the times ISO-NE comes close to dipping into the buffer of electric generation during the 10-27 peak usage days per year that occur in winter. A quick look at the ISO-NE calendar shows that this “Minimum Generation Emergency Warning” happens about 10-20 a MONTH – about 12 times more often than the supposed “capacity constraint” that led to the request for more pipelines.
POOR INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT
Even if there were an actual need, there are currently enough leaks in the existing infrastructure to provide another 400 MW of power. The two most dangerous classes of these leaks are now slated to be fixed under new legislation that has passed, but repairing Class 3 leaks (considered non-dangerous) in Massachusetts has not been mandatory until the 2016 Omnibus Energy Bill was passed by the MA State House of Representatives. There are tens of thousands of these leaks throughout the state.
There are also existing pipelines that are standing at least partially unused. Using these to capacity to store gas during non-peak times can keep enough reserve to cover the few days every winter when peak demand drives up prices. The call for more pipeline capacity is not being driven by a shortage of gas supply, just a shortage of cheap gas available to electric generation plants during extremely cold weather when people use more of the gas supply for heat and the need of drillers to move their product to export markets via the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline to new ports in Nova Scotia.
OVERSIZED SOLUTION TO PROPOSED “PROBLEM” – LIKELY EXPORT
Even if the Low Demand Scenario was not proven, the amount of additional pipeline capacity requested by NESCOE is 0.6 Billion cubic feet a day (Bcf/d), but the capacity slated to be added by new pipelines in Massachusetts will be far higher.
With more pipeline capacity than is called for, where is remaining proposed capacity destined to go? The terminal hub in Dracut is also connection point to the Martimes & Northeast (M&NE) pipeline which has just applied to switch direction, bringing gas from Massachusetts, through Maine to the Maritimes of Canada, where export terminals will soon be coming online. There is also new potential for export from facilities in Maine and Everett, MA.
NATURAL GAS POLLUTES MORE THAN EXISTING GRID SOURCES in MA
Looking into the CO2 emissions averaged over all sources of electric generation in MA, the average per source is 910 lb. per MWh. The average natural gas generation plant is 1,210 lb. per MWh. Natural gas has done it’s “bridge” work. With renewables phasing in at an unprecedented rate, adding more natural gas would now take is in the wrong direction for achieving the state’s greenhouse gas emissions goals – based on CO2 output alone.
Natural gas is also primarily methane, a greenhouse gas over 86 times more powerful than CO2. When a full accounting of methane’s impact is taken into consideration, studies show that it has no benefit over coal or oil in reducing greenhouse gas effects.
Natural gas is often touted as a “bridge fuel” to a clean energy economy. We are standing at the far end, having crossed that “bridge”. It’s time to step forward into that future we’ve been building.
Opposition to the Pipelines
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WHAT WE ARE DOING
— Making informational presentations across the state, showing what the pipeline components would be, where the areas of concern are, what the possible impacts would be and why it’s not necessary and an unfair economic and ecological burden.
— Organizing the impacted landowners, towns, concerned citizens, and others to resist the pipeline project
— Creating space for groups and individuals to find and share information, organize, collaborate, and plan
— Networking with elected officials, regulators and clean energy experts to help form strategy for transitioning to a clean energy economy, creating local, permanent, climate-friendly jobs