AG Healey's Office to Lead Regional Gas Capacity Study
Study will Examine Options to Address Electricity Reliability Needs in New England Region Through 2030, Evaluate Costs and Benefits of All Available Energy Resource Options
BOSTON – To better understand the need for additional gas capacity in the New England region, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that, with support from the Barr Foundation, her office will conduct a timely regional study that will identify and evaluate options to address electricity reliability needs, including natural gas capacity demand, in New England through 2030.
“Our goal with this study is to identify the most cost-effective solutions for ratepayers that will also allow us to achieve our regional climate goals,” said AG Healey. “As the state makes long-term decisions about additional gas capacity investments, we should understand the facts—what the future demand is, and which cost-effective energy and efficiency resources can be deployed to meet that demand.”
"The energy decisions the region makes today have long-term implications on our ability to meet demand, generate benefits for consumers and the economy, and maintain our status as a national leader on climate action," said Mariella Puerto, Senior Program Officer for Clean Energy at the Barr Foundation. "We are pleased to support this research effort to ensure that energy decisions are informed by a solid research base about the most cost effective and sustainable solutions.”
The study, which will be conducted by Analysis Group, a Boston-based economic and financial consulting firm, will include an evaluation of all potentially available energy resource options to meet reliability needs, including natural gas (both natural gas pipelines and LNG), oil, hydro imports, energy efficiency, demand response, and renewables. The study will provide an assessment of costs and benefits, including price impacts, of each option, consistent with the region’s energy and climate goals. A key focus of the study will be the question of whether more natural gas is needed in the region, and if so, how much more capacity is needed. Analysis Group will immediately begin work on the study, which will be completed by October 2015. Raab Associates, Ltd., a Boston-based consulting firm with substantial energy and regulatory experience, will provide professional facilitation for an Advisory Group to the AGO and Analysis Group on the study.
While there have been a number of prior studies conducted, none have answered the precise question of how much additional gas is needed in the New England region and whether that gas can by supplied by LNG or additional pipeline capacity is needed. The study will also focus on a longer time frame—to 2030—and on those options that will allow the region to meet applicable greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements.
AG Healey has called on the Department of Public Utilities [DPU] to rigorously study natural gas capacity needs before making any decisions regarding gas pipelines. Today as well, AG Healey also asked the DPU to reconsider, in light of the AG’s announcement that she will be leading such a study, its recent denial of the AG’s motion to stay DPU approval of certain local gas distribution companies’ proposed contracts to purchase gas capacity on the Kinder Morgan pipeline.