Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
Fractivists have the luxury of living in a fantasy world that state officials do not enjoy. New England leaders are forced to confront the reality – they need fracked gas, badly.
Listen up, you Massachusetts anti-drillers who don’t want Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline expansion running through your backyard. Without that pipeline, you’re faced with impending blackouts. No electricity. For extended periods. And, that’s according to the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources. At a joint meeting held in Manchaster, NH on Monday, this warning was delivered:
“The lights did not go out this past winter,” said Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources’s Nicholas Ucci at the forum hosted by the New England Council business association. “That doesn’t mean that they can’t.”
Sound like a threat? Sure does to us.
New England Fantasy World
Here’s what we noted a while back in one of our earlier MDN posts:
An anti-driller from Ashfield, MA says she wants her chance to stand in front of a Kinder Morgan bulldozer to try and stop the proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline expansion from coming through their town. We sincerely hope she gets the opportunity. Some 200 “voters” who are virulent anti-drillers packed an Ashfield town meeting to vote in favor of two resolutions against the proposed Kinder Morgan TGP pipeline. The Democrat governor of Massachusetts and the governors of five other New England states want and desperately need that pipeline. But true to form, at least some towns along the proposed route, including Ashfield, have revived the old hippie brigade to begin a round of new protests (gives their lives a little purpose, a chance to relive the glory years of the 60s)…
According to Ashfield community agitator Anna Fessenden, the founder of the Hilltown Community Rights group:
“We’ve been working since March 11, our first meeting, toward this…”
“We just have to stand in the way of the bulldozers and say ‘no, not here,’” Fessenden said.*
Your lips to God’s ears Ms. Fessenden. We hope someone has a camera there to snap a few pics when it happens.
The resolutions passed at the town meeting are nonbinding and frankly, don’t mean squat. Ashfield has a population, as of the 2010 census, of 1,737. This vote by perhaps as many as 200 Ashfield residents means that 11.5% of Ashfield’s residents don’t want to see the pipeline. Conversely, 88.5% either don’t care or are in favor of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Any kind of vote with an 88.5% majority is a political obliteration.
New England Reality
State officials, contrary to Ms. Fessenden and her ilk, have to deal with reality and at a three-hour meeting at Saint Anselm College tackled a range of energy issues faced by New England, including the proposed Kinder Morgan shale gas pipeline expansion that will cross Massachusetts. Anti-drillers can gripe and moan all they want–but when their lights go out, who will they blame then?
New England is facing a critical energy shortage. They have few coal-fired electric generating plants. They have a number of natural gas-fired plants with more coming online–but no way to feed them if they can’t get more gas to the region.
The Maine Governor’s Energy Office said New England is in danger of becoming an economy that runs only nine months of the year. That is, without new energy sources. And no, solar and wind can’t come close to providing what they need. Not if you cover every hillside with windmills and rooftop with solar panels.
And, by 2020, roughly 8,300 megawatts of nongas-powered generation is at risk for retirement, [CEO of ISO-New England Gordon] van Welie said. That could create a gap in power capacity, he said, and many of the generation projects that are planned to fill that energy void are gas-generated. “It’s going to really be a tricky situation for New England for next three to four years,” van Welie said.*
The heartbreaker, according to van Welie, is that New England is just a few hundred miles from the Marcellus/Utica with some of the cheapest gas available. That’s why the Tennessee Gas Pipeline expansion expansion will happen, regardless of the NIMBYs in Massachusetts. And, the gas New England receives will be 100% tracked gas. Call it poetic justice, pipeline justice or sweet justice, but isn’t it grand?