- National Grid will partner with Eversource Energy and Spectra Energy on a project designed to expand natural gas access in New England by up to 1 Bcf/d.
- The proposal calls for upgrading existing pipeline facilities and storage assets, with a goal of supplying electric generation markets in the gas-constrained region.
- The project, Access Northeast, is projected to save electric customers an average of $1 billion a year during normal weather conditions.
New England's lack of natural gas is pushing power prices higher, but now National Grid has joined with Spectra and Eversource on a new project expected to provide both economic and environmental benefits while keeping rates down.
“Our customers are literally paying the price for the pipeline constraints we have here in New England,” said John Flynn, senior vice president of U.S. business development for National Grid. “We are joining Access Northeast to lower energy costs for our customers and to help improve and support the region’s economic vitality. This project will play a key role in helping New England achieve a sustainable energy future.”
By June 30, backers said Access Northeast expects to have definitive agreements with all parties interested in participating. The project has an anticipated in-service date of November 2018.
The plan will minimize environmental and community impacts by maximizing use of existing pipeline and utility corridors and existing natural gas infrastructure, the company said. On peak days, Access Northeast could deliver up to 1 Bcf for electric generation markets.
“Once Access Northeast is operational, it is projected to save electric customers an average of $1 billion a year during normal weather conditions and even more during severe cold weather,” said Lee Olivier, executive vice president at Eversource. "
A new study has estimated savings during the extreme 2013-2014 winter would have been $2.5 billion with Access Northeast in service. ICF International estimated that under normal conditions, the region would save $800 million to $1.2 billion annually.
“This project will make a real impact solving the region’s energy challenges. Together, the Access Northeast developers serve 70% of the region’s electricity consumers and the pipelines involved already connect directly to 70% of the region’s gas-fired electric generation on their existing corridors,” said Bill Yardley, Spectra Energy’s president of U.S. Transmission Storage. “Natural gas will get to the plants it needs to, when it needs to.”