Spectra Energy and Spectra Energy Partners have announced plans to expand natural gas pipeline capacity into the New England Market to meet the demand for reliable electric power generation and additionally provide direct access to natural gas supplies to consumers. These plans for expansion of the Algonquin and Maritimes pipeline systems are in response to the New England governors’ recent initiative on new energy infrastructure and in anticipation of a request for proposal to be initiated by The New England States Committee on Electricity. This expansion, as outlined in a June 27 letter to NESCOE, would create up to 1 Bcf/day in capacity, and is in addition to Spectra Energy’s previously announced Algonquin Incremental Market and Atlantic Bridge projects. The project in-service date is dependent upon the timing of NESCOE’s process.
“Spectra Energy stands ready with a unique solution to New England’s need for reliable electricity supply. Our pipelines are in the right place at the right time to supply the region’s electric plants with affordable, clean, domestic natural gas,” said Bill Yardley, Spectra Energy’s president of U. S. Transmission and Storage. “To enhance the reliability of approximately 60% of these generators, we can expand our mainline and lateral facilities along our existing pipeline footprint while minimizing the effect on communities and the environment.”
Spectra Energy’s expansion project will deliver gas directly to these natural gas-fired electric generators on a firm basis, providing increased electric reliability and leading to more competitive energy prices for the region. Specifically, the Spectra Energy solution for New England will:
· Provide guaranteed supplies of natural gas on peak days for strategic power plants, using existing pipeline routes, minimizing effects on communities, landowners, and the environment
· Provide new services, including the ability to accommodate the projected need for more gas-fired quick-start power generation units to respond to sudden changes in output from intermittent renewable resources
· Be scalable, to ramp up supplies as demand grows
· Provide direct access to natural gas supplies to consumers
Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market expansion project will begin to de-bottleneck the pipeline system by winter of 2016, helping to enhance reliability and soften natural gas prices in New England. AIM is underpinned by commitments from gas utility companies across southern New England that entered into long-term capacity contracts. Atlantic Bridge’s proposed in-service is November 2017, and it will be similarly supported by gas utilities. Electric power generators will typically only have access to gas from these projects when it becomes available on the unpredictable secondary market. The plans announced today will provide needed additional firm supplies, delivered directly to the power generators, to address the electric reliability issue.