New PIPE Grant to Fund Gas for Homes, Biz Near Scranton Airport

Dupont, PA (click for larger version)

Pennsylvania’s Pipeline Investment Program (or PIPE) grants cover part of the cost for building new natural gas pipelines to connect homes and businesses typically in rural parts of the state to homegrown Marcellus Shale gas supplies. We’ve written about many of the more-than-a-dozen (so far) PIPE grant projects in the past (see our PIPE stories here). Another PIPE grant has just been awarded–this one in the Wilkes-Barre area.
Continue reading

PA Petchem Bill has Veto-Proof Majority – Wolf, Antis in Trouble

On Monday there were dueling rallies at the Capitol in Harrisburg, PA, for and against a new petrochemical bill, House Bill (HB) 1100, that promises to bring thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars of investment to the Keystone State (see PA Dem Shouts Union Members are “Losers” at Rally for Petchem Bill). HB 1100 provides a tax incentive for companies to build NEW plants in the state that use Marcellus methane gas. HB 1100 passed both the state House and Senate with large majorities of both Republicans and Democrats. Yet PA Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to veto the bill. Sensing they have enough votes to override a veto, both Republicans and Democrats continue to pressure Wolf to sign. Yesterday another rally was held, this one in Wilkes-Barre, to support the bill and further put the political screws to Wolf.
Continue reading

UGI Completes 4th Expansion of NEPA Marcellus Gathering System

UGI Energy Services, the pipeline subsidiary of UGI Corporation (utility company) has just completed the fourth expansion of their northeastern PA pipeline gathering system called the Auburn Gathering System. In May 2018 MDN told you about UGI’s plans to add another two compressor stations and more gathering pipelines to benefit Cabot Oil & Gas (see UGI Expanding NEPA Gathering System to Flow More Cabot Gas).
Continue reading

PA Public Utility Commission Gets New Commissioner: Ralph Yanora

Ralph Yanora

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has 522 employees, including attorneys, rate and service analysts, auditors, economists, engineers, motor transit and railroad specialists, communications specialists, safety inspectors and enforcement investigators. The agency is responsible for oversight of public utilities operating in the Commonwealth of PA. Some of that responsibility includes oversight of natural gas pipelines–like the Mariner East trio of pipelines. So the PUC is an important agency for the Marcellus industry. There are five Commissioners who oversee the agency. One left in March and a replacement was just appointed by the state legislature.
Continue reading

Leidy South Compressors Generate $100M Economic Impact, 680 Jobs

Did you know that building just two new compressor stations in Pennsylvania will bring the state an extra $100 million in economic activity and support 680 direct, indirect and induced jobs? We sure didn’t! Last week Williams filed a newly published study with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the economic impact of their proposed Leidy South Expansion Project (full study embedded below). The study makes an irrefutable case for building the new compressor stations in Luzerne and Schuylkill counties.
Continue reading

Caithness Cuts Ribbon on Marcellus-Fired Plant Near Wilkes-Barre

In September 2018, the 1,050-megawatt Moxie Freedom Marcellus-fired power plant located near Wilkes-Barre, PA (Luzerne County) went online, feeding the electricity it produces into the local power grid (see Moxie Freedom Marcellus-Fired Plant Near Wilkes-Barre Online). And yet Caithness Energy, owner of the plant, held the official ribbon-cutting ceremony…yesterday. More than a year after going online. Why?
Continue reading

PA Legislators Float Bill to Attract Cracker-Sized Projects to NEPA

Yesterday two northeast Pennsylvania legislators–state Representative Aaron Kaufer (Republican) and state Senator John Yudichak (Democrat)–hosted a rally to promote proposed new bipartisan legislation aimed at luring a “world-class” petrochemical manufacturing plant to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. A big plant, on the order of the Shell cracker plant in southwestern PA. But no, not an ethane cracker. The kind of plant the two legislators want to attract in northeastern PA would leverage the huge volume of locally extracted Marcellus dry gas (i.e. methane).
Continue reading

FERC Compressor Stn Hearing Near Wilkes-Barre Turns Up 1 Anti

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is conducting a series of four public meetings (called scoping sessions) for both the Williams Leidy South Project (see Williams Planning 2 New, 2 Upgraded Compressor Stations in NEPA) and the National Fuel Gas Company FM100 Project (see NFG FM100 Pipe Project in NW PA to Feed Marcellus Gas to Transco). Both projects work together to flow more Marcellus gas to the Transco Zone 6 region.
Continue reading

Williams Planning 2 New, 2 Upgraded Compressor Stations in NEPA

Williams is in the process of conducting open houses for a series of compressor station projects part of it’s recently announced Leidy South Project. The project will expand capacity along the Transco Pipeline system, including the newly minted Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline portion of Transco, adding another 582 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of capacity to the Transco in northeast PA.
Continue reading

Wilkes-Barre, PA Suburb Votes to Block Marcellus Industry

It’s kind of unusual, but we suppose not totally unheard of, for a township in the heart of the Pennsylvania Marcellus region in the northeast to essentially reject the Marcellus industry and tell the industry it isn’t wanted in their town. That’s the very loud and clear message just sent by Dallas Township (Luzerne County, near Wilkes-Barre) in adopting new zoning regulations that limit businesses related to the Marcellus industry from operating anywhere but in ~10% of the town. And we’re not talking about drilling–there is no Marcellus drilling in Dallas, in fact none in Luzerne County at all. We’re talking about things like “compressor stations, metering stations, processing facilities, hydraulic fracturing water withdrawal and treatment services.” And such restrictions do impact the industry, especially those related to pipeline infrastructure.
Continue reading

Wilkes-Barre Moxie Freedom NatGas Plant Taxes $752K per Year

As of September, the 1,000-megawatt Moxie Freedom Marcellus-fired power plant located near Wilkes-Barre, PA (Luzerne County) is up and running and feeding electricity it produces into the local power grid (see Moxie Freedom Marcellus-Fired Plant Near Wilkes-Barre Online). That means it’s now time to pay the piper–meaning it’s time to begin paying property taxes. How does a county value such a facility–the first of its kind in the county? They hire a private firm to do it, at a cost of $50,000! (Yikes, we’re in the wrong business.) The valuation is now done, and the private firm reckons Moxie Freedom is worth $42.2 million. Which means the facility will pay $752,000 per year in property taxes to various governmental entities.
Continue reading

Moxie Freedom Marcellus-Fired Plant Near Wilkes-Barre Online

Moxie Freedom

The 1,000-megawatt Moxie Freedom Marcellus-fired power plant located near Wilkes-Barre, PA is now “transitioning to commercial operation.” The plant is up and running and soon will be feeding the electricity it produces into the local power grid. In June 2014, MDN broke the news that Moxie Energy was in the hunt to begin a third new Marcellus gas-powered electric plant project in Pennsylvania, near Wilkes-Barre (see Moxie Energy in Hunt for Third Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant?). In November 2015, Moxie selected Gemma Power to build the plant, and construction began a month later (see Moxie Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant Breaks Ground in NEPA). In June 2017, Caithness Energy (the owner) issued an update to say the plant will go online in May of this year (see NEPA Moxie Freedom Power Plant on Track for May 2018 Launch). That didn’t happen. However, we spotted a local newspaper article that quotes plant officials as saying they are right now in the process of transitioning to commercial operation…
Continue reading

Trout Unlimited Launches Spy/Snitch Program for PennEast Pipeline

Let’s be right up front about how we feel about the innocent-sounding Trout Unlimited (TU). Four years ago the organization was outed as a radical, far-left environmentalist group–hellbent on opposing fossil fuels (see Trout Unlimited, Other Groups Outted as Radical Green Groups). We have zero respect for the organization. Yes, there are some well-meaning (hoodwinked, misguided) people who belong to it. Good people. But tricked into supporting an anti-American, anti-fossil fuel agenda. (You need to get out!) TU has just announced a new spy/snitch training program to keep an eye on the PennEast Pipeline–when it actually starts to get built. TU will soon begin training for a so-called “water monitoring” program in PA counties where PennEast will run–Luzerne, Carbon, Northampton and Bucks counties. To which we say, knock yourselves out. PennEast has nothing to hide. The pipeline won’t negatively impact waterways–not in any meaningful, long-term way. So if you want to spy and snitch, go right ahead. There won’t be anything to snitch about…
Continue reading

Cabot Says 2 NEPA Gas-Fired Plants Go Operational by June 1

Lackawanna Energy Center – concept drawing

Tucked away in the comments made by Cabot Oil & Gas CEO Dan Dinges on an investor conference call last Friday, MDN picked up on what we consider big news: Both the Moxie Freedom (Luzerne County, Wilkes-Barre area) and Lackawanna Energy Center (Lackawanna County, Scranton area) Marcellus-fired power plants are about to go fully operational–sometime in May (by June 1). Both plants will exclusively use Marcellus gas extracted by Cabot in Susquehanna County, PA. For nearly a year the plan had been for Moxie Freedom to be built and online in May of this year, so that announcement isn’t so much a surprise as it is welcomed news (see NEPA Moxie Freedom Power Plant on Track for May 2018 Launch). However, in March we reported Lackawanna was going through a “short” commissioning stage and would be firing up at any time (see Gas-Fired Power Plant Near Scranton Nears Startup; Yellow Smoke). The Lackawanna project has faced fierce local resistance. A group of Democrats got themselves elected to the local town board in Jessup, taking office in January, trying their best to block startup of the Lackawanna project by employing a Big Green lawyer (who works for Riverkeeper) at a cost to taxpayers of $225/hour. Looks like it was wasted money as Dinges says Lackawanna will be operational, with large volumes of Cabot gas flowing to it, within weeks…
Continue reading

NEPA Hospital Building Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant

Concept drawing for Geisinger’s $18 million Central Utility Plant

A hospital in Wilkes-Barre, PA–the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center–has begun work on building a new $18 million Marcellus gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant. The new plant will cut the hospital’s energy consumption by 40% and save it around $1.5 million in energy costs annually. Cool! This is not the first time we’ve written about the trend among PA hospitals to build their own mini power plants, powered by natural gas. Last time we checked, in November, there were a dozen hospitals across the Keystone State that use CHP technology (see Lancaster Hospital Produces Its Own Electricity Using Marcellus Gas). Hospitals are not the only organizations that use CHP–universities, manufacturing plants and others use CHP too (see Website Connects Lenders/Borrows for Combined Heat & Power Projects). Here’s the news about the newest PA hospital to use CHP–an important new market for PA’s abundant, clean-burning Marcellus gas…
Continue reading