New England Grid Operator: Region Needs More NatGas, Pipelines

In a companion story today, MDN tells you about a frivolous lawsuit that claims two New England utilities have been manipulating gas flows along the Algonquin Pipeline, by “constraining” those flows (see New England Lawsuit Claims Utilities “Constrained” NatGas Pipeline). It’s bupkis. That is, the utilities are not the ones constraining pipelines in New England. What is constraining New England pipelines is high demand for natural gas–and NOT ENOUGH PIPELINES to flow it–both for end users like residences and business, and major users like electric generating plants. So says the head of the electric grid in New England, Gordon van Welie. Speaking at a recent energy conference in Rhode Island, van Welie said, “regional pipelines were built for gas distribution companies’ heating demands, not for power generation. [van Welie] says they’re at, or near capacity, in winter and generators have to use more expensive fuels, including oil and liquefied natural gas.” van Welie also said, “The gas problem [lack of it] is going to live with us for a long time” because more than 50% of New England’s electric power generation comes from gas-fired plants. What about Big Green favorites, wind and solar? van Welie rained on Big Green’s parade, saying wind and solar can’t replace gas because they’re “intermittent sources of power.” Whoops! Big Green’s bubble just got burst by reality and good old common sense. Here’s more about the meeting, and van Welie’s remarks…

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