New England Gas Company
WE NEW ENGLANDERS are a hardy bunch. We put up with nasty winters, brutal traffic, and we waited nearly a century for our beloved Sox to beat the dreaded Curse of the Bambino. But now many of us are saying uncle to one thing (OK, maybe two if you count this winter) – high energy bills. In fact, according to the Energy Information Administration, only Hawaii and Alaska had higher electric rates than New England this January.
Residents, large and small business owners, communities, and policymakers want affordable, cleaner, safe, reliable, secure, and stable energy. But how do we make that happen?
There are myriad proposals in play right now – gas pipelines, electric transmission lines, wind farms, the list goes on and on. So how do we get to a sustainable long-term energy future where we can still afford electricity and groceries? The inconvenient truth is, there is no single silver bullet that will deliver what we need and want. Rather, it will take a portfolio of solutions.
Let’s start with “affordable.” The region’s current high prices are the result of a basic supply and demand issue. In 2000, 15 percent of New England’s electric energy production was from generators fueled by gas. By 2014, that number had risen to about 44 percent. Meanwhile, pipeline capacity for gas transmission into New England has not kept pace.
As a result, there is simply not enough gas coming into the region to reliably or affordably power these plants and meet the needs of millions of residential and commercial gas customers. As the region’s older, dirtier plants continue to retire and new, cleaner gas-fired plants replace them, the situation will only get worse. In fact, about 63 percent of the region’s 11, 000 megawatts of proposed new generation is gas-fired. The problem is so severe that some local gas companies already have been forced to turn away new customers because they won’t have enough gas in a few years to be able to serve them.
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