Natural Gas NOW
The Transco Pipeline, which connects New York City to natural gas sources, experienced its heaviest use ever in January, proving the City needs pipelines.
Nothing more is needed to understand New York City dependence on natural gas from sources between here and the Gulf than the latest news from Williams, the owner of the Transco Pipeline. We’re talking record deliveries due to the recent polar vortex. The critical nature of the Northeast Supply Enhancement project to keep the New York City metro area warm became so obvious even the Geico Caveman could see it, notwithstanding the opposition of Food & Water Watch and other gentry class shills for the anti-gas project.
Here’s the news from Williams (emphasis added):
Williams announced today that it recently delivered a record amount of natural gas on its Transco interstate gas pipeline, providing essential services to gas distribution companies, power generators, LNG exports and other customers located along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast.
The nation’s largest-volume natural gas transmission system, Transco delivered a record-breaking 15.68 million dekatherms (MMdt) on Jan. 21, 2019. The new peak-day mark surpasses the previous high that was set on Jan. 5, 2018. The Transco system, which stretches from South Texas to New York City, also established a new three-day market area delivery record, averaging 15.30 MMdt from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, 2019.
The natural gas delivery records were made possible thanks to additional firm transportation capacity created by multiple fully-contracted Transco expansions completed in 2018 and early 2019 (Gulf Connector, Atlantic Sunrise, Garden State Phase II). Together, these expansions added more than 2.3 MMdt of firm transportation capacity to the existing pipeline system.
“The recent frigid conditions across the country are an important reminder of the vital role transmission pipelines play in delivering the natural gas necessary to keep millions of Americans safe and secure, especially during winter periods of peak demand,” said Alan Armstrong, president and chief executive officer of Williams. “The incremental capacity from the fully-contracted Transco expansion projects placed into service in 2018 and early 2019 reflects an increase of about 16 percent in Transco’s design capacity – which has helped position us to meet the growing demand needs of our customers.”
Construction is expected to commence on five additional Transco projects in 2019 (Rivervale South to Market, Hillabee Phase 2, Northeast Supply Enhancement, Gateway and Southeastern Trail), collectively creating approximately 1.15 MMdt of additional pipeline capacity in 2019 and 2020.
Transco is the nation’s largest-volume interstate natural gas pipeline system. It delivers natural gas to customers through its approximately 10,000-mile pipeline network whose mainline extends nearly 1,800 miles between South Texas and New York City. The system is a major provider of cost effective natural gas services that reach U.S. markets in 12 Southeast and Atlantic Seaboard states, including major metropolitan areas in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Putting all this in perspective is some language from the recently released FERC Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project:
The City of New York issued its PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York sustainability plan in 2011. The plan is a multi-pronged approach to sustainability and includes energy goals such as reducing New York City government’s energy consumption, strengthening building codes, supporting the expansion of natural gas infrastructure, fostering the market for renewable energy, and accelerating reliability improvements to New York City’s electric grid (NYC, 2011).
In addition, the State of New York’s 2015 New York State Energy Plan outlines measures to increase the state’s use of renewable energy, increase energy efficiency of homes and buildings, and modernize the existing energy infrastructure…
The Project would align with the state and local goals outlined above primarily by improving air quality and offsetting the use of more carbon-intensive fossil fuels by supporting the continued conversion of building heating systems from fuel oil to natural gas in New York City.
Burning natural gas produces about 80 percent less particulate matter and lower emissions of other contaminants than burning no. 4 fuel oil (NYCDEP, 2012). As of 2012, New Yorkers continued to burn more than 1 billion gallons of heating oil annually, contributing to approximately 14 percent of all fine particulate matter emitted in New York City (NYCDEP, 2012). The use of no. 6 fuel oil as a primary heating fuel was largely phased out by 2015, and the use of no. 4 fuel oil is still scheduled to be largely phased out by 2030.
So, there you go. If you’re truly serious about reducing emissions, improving health and staying warm in New York City, then acknowledging dependence on natural gas, and recognizing growth in use of natural gas is the means to make further progress, is an unavoidable necessity. The Northeast Supply Enhancement Project is likewise a necessity, which brings me to a final point. Why in the world isn’t this project given a name consistent with its importance? I would have called it the “Transformation Project” because that’s what it will enable; the transformation of the New York City energy supply to one of lower emissions and improved health while staying warm.