IMG Midstream: Army of Tiny PA Marcellus-Powered Electric Plants

MDN first told you about IMG Midstream in August 2014 (see 7 Small Marcellus-Powered Electric Plants Coming to NEPA). At the time, IMG was proposing to build seven “tiny” natural gas-fired electric plants–each plant producing on the order of 20-22 megawatts of electricity (enough to power 13,000 homes). IMG added a couple of more to their plans in November 2014 (see Details on IMG’s “Tiny” Marcellus-Powered Electric Plants in NEPA). The beauty of IMG’s tiny natgas electric plants is that they are really small–about the size of a basketball court; they produce almost no air pollution; and they are quiet. It’s a really cool concept. IMG’s very first tiny electric plant, in Susquehanna County, PA, went online in October 2015. The second plant, in Bradford County, PA, went online this past June (see IMG’s Tiny NatGas-Fired Electric Plants Take Off in the Marcellus). The former 9 planned plants ballooned with plans for 25 plants operating within the next five years! We spotted a recent article about IMG’s activities in southwestern PA and that got us to thinking. How are they doing with their plan to build 25 plants? So far, they’ve built 11 and are on the prowl for more locations. We have the latest update on IMG and their startegy of zigging (building small power plants) when everyone else is zagging (building large plants)…
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Are We Building Too Many NatGas-Fired Electric Plants?

MDN has been highlighting Marcellus/Utica gas-fired electric plant projects from some time. Our lead story today is about IMG Midstream’s “tiny” power plants–a contrarian strategy of building small rather than large. We cover these projects because (a) they use a lot of natural gas, and therefore are an important new market/demand for our oversupply of natural gas here in the northeast, and (b) each of these projects results in millions (sometimes billions) of dollars of new investment in local communities where they get built. Electric generating plants are a feel good, good news story. However, we have to ask the question, Are we now overbuilding new power plants? On the surface it seems ludicrous to even ask the question. “Everyone knows” that coal generating plants are closing down and something (typically natgas) has to replace all of that generating capacity that’s closing down, right? Not so fast. The electricity market is complex. The market where most of the plants we cover are getting built is in the PJM grid, which covers all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Natural gas and coal are not the only two choices to generate power. In fact, did you know that the #1 power generating source in PA is nuclear? An article from Bloomberg discusses a “glut of supply” in PJM which has led to prices falling throughout the region. So once again, are we building too many electric plants too fast? Will there be enough demand for all of the electricity we generate from new natgas-fired plants?…
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PA Independent Fiscal Office: Wolf Severance Tax Highest in U.S.

Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) provides revenue projections for use in the state budget process along with impartial and timely analysis of fiscal, economic and budgetary issues to assist Commonwealth residents and the General Assembly in their evaluation of policy decisions. It’s only been around since 2010 and in the past we’ve wondered if it’s populated with liberal Democrats that don’t hew to the state mission of being objective in their analysis. However, our confidence in the organization has grown over the past year or so. Recent IPO predictions about Marcellus Shale impact fee revenues have been pretty accurate (see PA Independent Fiscal Office Predicts Impact Fee Revenue for 2016). And the IPO’s assessment of PA Gov. Wolf’s proposed severance tax last year was not flattering (see IFO: PA Gov. Wolf Proposes Highest Severance Tax in Nation). The IFO is back with another look at Wolf’s proposed budget, including his insistence on including a so-called 6.5% severance tax. The IFO points out in real terms, Wolf’s proposal is actually a 9% severance tax–the highest in the country! The IFO also points out a fact that few Democrats will admit in public–most of the tax will be paid by landowners (coming out of their royalty checks), and consumers using the natural gas extracted. The IFO says it’s a known fact that companies pass along taxes in higher costs to their customers (and in deductions from royalties). So while some poor, demented fools think they’re “soaking big, filthy, rich oil companies” and “making them pay their fair share” by implementing a severance tax, just the opposite happens. The little guy gets screwed. What ends of up happening is that money is taken from one little guy’s pocket and given to another little guy. It’s a con game, a shell game, and it’s time to put an end to it…
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Virginia DEQ Plans to Give 2 Pipeline Projects Detailed Exam

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced yesterday that it would require water quality certifications under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act for each segment of both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project (Dominion) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline project (EQT & NextEra Energy). Apparently the DEQ considered using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permit 12 process–a less rigorous review (saves about half a forest of trees in paper). But in the end, the DEQ said they were caving to political pressure from anti groups (our words), and instead put Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley on notice to get ready for a detailed exam. It will be painful. However, it’s not anything either company isn’t already used to/hasn’t done before. We wouldn’t say “it’s no big deal,” but neither is this a show stopper. The more relevant question: Is the DEQ ready to review the blizzard of paperwork that will come at them, IN A TIMELY MANNER? The real question is whether or not the DEQ is equipped to conduct the extensive review they’ve now demanded, and what happens if they can’t?…
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Bipartisan Support from WV, VA, NC for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

In what has to be a major blow to the morale of anti-pipeline crusaders in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, the top elected state officials in the legislatures of all three states, both Republicans AND Democrats (16 of them in all), sent a letter on Tuesday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting FERC approve the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. Dominion wants to build a $5 billion, 594-mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. The leaders of all three state legislators have told FERC, we want this pipeline, we NEED this pipeline, please approve it. Today is the last day FERC will receive public comments on the project. Here’s who signed, along with a copy of the letter sent to FERC…
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PennEast Files for Water Crossing Permits in NJ – Antis All Atwitter

Today is, hopefully, a joyous day for the PennEast Pipeline. Today is the day that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is supposed to, after three delays, issue the project a final Environmental Impact Statement. If/when that final EIS is issued, the only step remaining, from the federal perspective, is a certification of the project. Typically a favorable final EIS is the big step, and the certification then is perfunctory–a given. We have to confess we are on pins and needles because the project has now been delayed three times, a red flag in our book (see FERC Delays PennEast Pipe 3rd Time, PennEast Spins as ‘Good News’). However, anticipating a favorable final EIS, PennEast applied with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a Freshwater Wetlands Impact Permit. For some reason, the act of filing for that permit before receiving the final FERC EIA has anti-fossil fuelers in an outrage. They claim PennEast has jumped the gun, that they are behaving like the project is “inevitable” (which it is, by the way). Arrogant. And how dare these evil, filthy, fossil fuel-polluting companies DARE do something they (anti-fossil fuel nutters) don’t want them to do? That’s the “moral” outrage we’re seeing in New Jersey’s far-left “media” reporting on it. For us, it’s a routine application for a permit. For them, it’s the end of their contrived, perfect, snowflake world…
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New Analysis Shows Johns Hopkins Asthma “Study” was Junk Science

Last July anti-frackers at the Johns Hopkins-Bloomberg School of Public Health expelled another bought-and-paid-for (by anti-drillers) “study” that implies the presence of fracking in Pennsylvania leads to causing, or making worse, asthma attacks (see Sham “Study” from Johns Hopkins Says Fracking Makes Athsma Worse). The study, “Association Between Unconventional Natural Gas Development in the Marcellus Shale and Asthma Exacerbations,” evaluated thousands of health records from the Geisinger Clinic in PA, looking for patterns between people showing up with asthmatic symptoms and correlating it to how close they live to shale wells being drilled. As we pointed out at the time, “The incredible thing about this latest run at smearing the miracle of fracking is this: the authors (most of them students) admit in their own study they only have theories, no proof that ties fracking to asthma.” At the time, Energy in Depth noted it seemed a bit odd that the researchers didn’t include a county by county comparison, to illustrate how asthma got worse in counties with drilling as opposed to those without. Now we know why. EID has done its own analysis, using PA Dept. of Health data, that shows asthma episodes in counties with the most shale drilling went DOWN, not up! Which blows the door right off the Johns Hopkins “study”…
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“Keep it in the Ground” Policies Would be a Disaster – New Study

Let’s play “What if?” What if we followed the advice of the kooks who tell us to “keep it in the ground”–by which they mean we should immediately stop all extraction of fossil fuels–oil, gas, coal, etc. We’re told by the enviro left that renewables are here and ready now to take over the job of providing all of our energy needs. So what would REALLY happen if we stopped using all fossil fuels? The American Petroleum Institute commissioned a study of just that scenario. They released the study two days. Titled “The Impacts of Restricting Fossil Fuel Energy Production” (full copy below), the report reads like apocalyptic book of Revelation in the Bible. What would happen if there were no new private, state, or federal oil and natural gas leases; a complete ban on hydraulic fracturing; no new coal mines or expansion of existing mines; and no new energy infrastructure including pipelines? The U.S. economy would lose 5.9 million jobs. Our gross domestic product (GDP) would lose $11.8 trillion. Your household’s annual energy bill would jump by $4,552, per year! Crude oil prices would jump $40 per barrel, back to the bad old days of $100/barrel prices. (As an aside, because renewables really can’t take over the role of fossil fuels, we would become completely dependent on enemy countries in the Middle East for our oil.) Natural gas would jump from $3/Mcf to $21/Mcf. And your electric bill will go up by 56%. And that’s just for starters…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Apr 7, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Why PA energy industry has not time to waste; cracker generating excitement in Beaver County; small ND town looks to create virtual natgas pipeline; ExxonKnew campaign tries to pedal more fake news; Cheniere will take all the gas it can get; why did frack sand stocks tumble in March; LNG suppliers propose flat rate pricing; and more!
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