— Kinder Morgan Natural Gas Pipeline: Wrong Choice for Massachusetts – A Single Page Fact-Sheet outlining the pipeline project and its impacts
Our Current Mission: To stop the Kinder Morgan/TGP Northeast Energy Direct project (a high-pressure gas pipeline planned by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, to run from Richmond in Berkshire County through to Dracut, north of Boston.)
Our Broader Mission: To stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in Massachusetts and to promote expanded efficiency and sustainable, renewable sources of energy and local, permanent jobs in a clean energy economy.
Why the pipeline is being proposed:
Concerned about possible shortages of energy grid supply once the region’s coal, oil and nuclear plants are off-line in a few years, all six New England Governors signed a letter, urging regional cooperation between them to make sure the grid stays sufficiently supplied. They asked ISO New England and NESCOE to investigate what would be necessary. Studies by these organizations resulted in a plan to upgrade efficiency of the grid and to bring an extra 0.6 Billion cubic feet a day (Bcf/day) of natural gas capacity into New England, along with an unprecedented tariff on all electric ratepayers to cover the costs of the new infrastructure.
According to KM/TGP’s meetings with selectboards across the state, thier pipeline proposal is in direct response to this plan, but they pipeline they’re proposing is 2.2 Bcf/day. They say they will need to secure at least 0.7 Bcf/day to make the project worth their while but have not publicly disclosed how much is already slated in contracts they’re currently developing.
Concerns over how the Governor’s letter and NESCOE’s creation of the tariff came about were raised in a report from Conservation Law Foundation, which presented a substantial amount of evidence that closed door meetings with energy companies led to the request for more pipeline capacity.
» Read CLF’s report
Why the pipeline is being opposed:
The proposed pipeline path runs through hundreds of private properties and through some of the state’s most sensitive ecosystems and would be paid for through new tariffs on our electric bills.
We have been researching the need for this pipeline (or lack thereof), environmental and economic impacts and presenting across the state since February and are constantly updating and filling out with new findings.
DEMAND IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS
Studies commissioned by NESCOE 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 fact that the “Low Demand Scenario” created by current efficiency programs was never analyzed and the study in general were termed “flawed” during our meeting with the Governor and Sec. of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The Dept. of Energy Resources has undertaken a new study of cost benefits and risks of following the current trend of efficiency that currently keeping demand for electricity flat. Results of this new study may be available as early as the beginning of next year.
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.
One of our pipeline-watchers has also just 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) is not mandatory. We think it should be.
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. This project 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.
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 Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project proposed by KM/TGP is being planned for 2.2 Bcf/d.
With nearly four times the capacity called for, where is the other three quarters of that capacity destined? 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 two ports have just applied to switch from import to export. There is also new potential for export from facilities in Maine and Everett, MA.
In selectboard meetings across the state, KM representatives have repeatedly said that they have no control over who their customers are, so exports are on the table. Their own open season bidding memo called from LNG developers and customers in the Maritimes as well as local distribution and electric utilities.
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 Pipeline
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
Check our tally of progress – and realize that it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Please explore our website and contact us with any questions or suggestions.