Natural Gas NOW Picks of the Week – November 10, 2018

natural gas now - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Natural Gas NOW readers pass along a lot of stuff every week about natural gas, fractivist antics, emissions, renewables, and other news relating to energy. As usual, emphasis is added.

Tom Wolf Admits Natural Gas Cleans the Air

Natural gas is clean energy. It improves air quality. How do we know? Tom Wolf tells us so. The headline is “Wolf Administration Awards Grants to Support 16 Clean Energy Projects to Improve Air Quality Statewide” and here are the projects:

  1. Giant Eagle, Inc.: $300,000 to purchase 20 compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks, saving more than 355,000 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  2. Valley Energy, Inc.: $10,950 to purchase two CNG pick-up trucks, saving 1,200 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  3. Vogel Disposal Service: $286,163 for the purchase of eight CNG trucks, saving 56,000 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  4. College Township: $7,500 to this first-time applicant for the purchase of an electric vehicle and $2,077 for a charging station, collectively saving 640 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  5. Francis J. Palo, Inc.: $37,500 to purchase five CNG powered pickup trucks, saving 18,750 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  6. Colonial Airport Parking, Inc.: $66,000 for four propane shuttle buses, saving more than 18,800 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  7. LT Verrastro, Inc.: $142,969 to upgrade their CNG fueling station, which is also used by County of Lackawanna Transit System, saving 43,500 in gasoline gallon equivalents per year.

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    LT Verrastro Inc CNG Fueling Station

  8. Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority: $80,000 to purchase two CNG waste transfer trucks, saving more than 17,300 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  9. Gorman Distributors, Inc.: $36,795 to convert three cargo vans to CNG, saving 3,300 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  10. Eastern Freight Systems: $80,000 to purchase two CNG trucks, saving more than 99,000 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  11. Suburban Transit Network, Inc.: $300,000 to purchase 14 propane shuttle buses and convert seven additional vehicles to propane, saving more than 81,000 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  12. Waste Management: $300,000 to purchase eight CNG powered vehicles, saving more than 68,500 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  13. Borough of Lansdale: $22,500 to purchase three electric vehicles, saving 126 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  14. First Transit, Inc.: $300,000 for 23 CNG shuttles and $300,000 for 18 CNG buses, saving more than 340,000 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  15. Waste Management: $300,000 to purchase eight CNG vehicles, saving more than 68,500 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
  16. Monark Student Transportation: $76,000 to purchase eight propane school buses, saving more than 22,800 gasoline gallon equivalents per year.

The governor’s clean energy contribution to air quality improvement involves buying or converting 99 CNG vehicles, upgrading a CNG station, buying or converting another 33 propane vehicles (propane being a natural gas derivative) and four electric vehicles that will run on electricity mostly made from natural gas. That’s 16 for 16 by my count. Will someone tell the Clean Energy Council, please?

Constitution Pipeline Lives!

FERC has given the Constitution Pipeline, together with the connecting Iroquois Gas Transmission System, another two years to get it done. The decision is revealing. Here are a few excerpts:

The Commission received filings in opposition to Constitution’s request for an extension of time from affected landowner Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services (Capital Region Board), a group of environmental organizations (collectively, Catskill Mountainkeeper), affected landowners Catherine Holleran and her family (Holleran Landowners), and the organization Stop the Pipeline…

As the Commission has explained, “good cause” can be shown by a project sponsor demonstrating that it made good faith efforts to meet its deadline but encountered unforeseeable circumstances…

In its request, Constitution explains that the New York DEC’s denial of Constitution’s application for a water quality certification remains in effect and Constitution is diligently pursuing all available legal remedies

Constitution is empowered by section 19(b) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) to seek judicial review of the Commission’s January 2018 Waiver Oder and September 2018 Waiver Rehearing Order. On September 14, 2018, Constitution filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit of those waiver orders. The appeal is pending. Constitution also noted in response to the opponents that New York DEC’s denial does not prohibit Constitution from reapplying for a water quality certification. There is no reason for the Commission to believe that Constitution, if granted the requested two-year extension, will not construct its facilities and place them into service by December 2020, assuming a timely favorable decision from the court

Constitution’s loss in the Second Circuit and Constitution’s unsuccessful efforts to seek a declaratory order from the Commission finding waiver constitute new demonstrations of good cause for delay. The waiver question is now pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Given that our regulations allow an extension of time for good cause, we find no reason to terminate Constitution’s project by denying the extension before the court reaches its decision

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Because we find that Constitution has demonstrated good cause for the delay, we will grant the request for a two-year extension to complete construction of the Constitution Pipeline Project and to make it available for service by December 2, 2020.

Iroquois states that good cause exists for the extension because Iroquois has worked diligently and in good faith to obtain all approvals to construct the Wright Interconnect Project and because the delay related to the pending State Facility and Title V air permit was unforeseeable and beyond Iroquois’s control. Iroquois explains that it executed a Stipulation of Settlement with New York DEC as part of the pending litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Under this settlement, if Constitution prevails in any forum against New York DEC with respect to Constitution’s application for a water quality certification, then New York DEC has 15 business days to forward its draft State Facility and Title V air permit for the Wright Interconnect Project to the U.S. EPA for its review and approval. If Constitution does not prevail, then Iroquois and New York DEC will confer within 30 days regarding the processing of Iroquois’s air permit application.

Because we find that Iroquois has demonstrated good cause for the delay, we will grant the request for a two-year extension to complete construction of the Wright Interconnect Project and to make it available for service by December 2, 2020.

Interesting, huh? Catskill Mountainkeeper (the NRDC-Rockefeller gang) is still in there making mischief, but its arguments have been weak and one wonders if Constitution Pipeline persistence won’t win the day. There are also indications FERC thinks it could win and the suggestion Constitution Pipeline might reapply to New York DEC. Most importantly, DEC has told the Iroquois folks it move the interconnection project if Constitution Pipeline prevails.

Gas Fuels Growth

Here’s a nice little letter to the editor from our friend George Stark, at Cabot Oil & Gas:

Record natural gas production in Pennsylvania is driving incredible investments, especially in natural gas power generation projects.

A recent report from Energy In Depth, an industry group, detailed how 16 different natural gas power generation projects are under development, or are operating now, because of Marcellus Shale development. These projects represent $13.9 billion of new investment in the commonwealth and the development of these projects creates thousands of jobs.

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Besides being massive economic drivers, projects like these are a net benefit for the environment. Natural gas is cleaner than traditional energy sources, which helps keep Pennsylvania moving toward its goal of emission reductions to contribute to cleaner air quality.

In fact, between 2005 and 2015, Pennsylvania had a 30 percent decrease in carbon emissions from electricity generation facilities. Every Pennsylvanian can get behind cleaner air, well-paying jobs and a strong economy.

Couldn’t say it any better!

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