- Two proposed natural gas pipelines aiming to supply generation in Virginia and the Carolinas are not needed, according to a new report out by Southern Environmental Law Center that focuses on the anticipated peak demand for gas-fired power.
- The report, completed by Synapse Energy, finds the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline are unnecessary and that "natural gas supply capacity exceeds peak demand."
- The ACP would move gas supplies along a 600-mile route from from from West Virginia to North Carolina, while MVP would run approximately 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia.
This isn't the first criticism these proposed pipelines have faced. Earlier this year, another report analyzed costs of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline project and found four Virginia counties could shoulder $6.9 to $7.9 billion in costs. The MVP line hasn't faced as much scrutiny, but the current protests highlight nationwide concerns from landowners over potential impacts to property values.
According to SELC's report, Virginia and the Carolinas will have sufficient gas to meet peak demands through 2030, contingent on a mix of existing pipelines, storage and expected upgrades and pipelines reversals.
Nine pipelines now supply the region with about 300 MMcf per hour, the report found, and storage can add another 71 MMcf/hour. The reversal of Transco's Mainline pipeline as part of the Atlantic Sunrise is expected to add 254 MMcf per hour in 2017, and an upgrade to an existing pipeline proposed by Columbia Gas will add an additional 73 MMcf per hour to the region beginning in 2018.
“The dilemma for communities up until now has been figuring out where these pipelines would be built,” SELC Senior Attorney Greg Bupper said in a statement. “But today we know they don’t need to be built at all. Despite what we have heard from the utilities, we will have plenty of power and heat without them.”
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is being proposed by Dominion, along with Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural
Gas, and AGL Resources. Mountain Valley is being developed by EQT Midstream Partners, NextEra US Gas Assets,WGL Midstream, and Vega Midstream MVP.
Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby cast doubt on the report's conclusions. He told The Daily Progress the report “is based on flawed assumptions, incorrect data and a fundamental misunderstanding of our natural gas system in this country.”
Dominion has delayed construction on the project, but in April said it still expects to break ground next year and be online in 2018.