New England is facing significant economic consequences if electricity and natural gas infrastructure is not built over the next five years, claims a study commissioned by the New England Coalition for Affordable Energy.
The study, conducted by Boston consulting firms La Capra Associates and Economic Development Research Group, claimed that failure to expand the region’s energy infrastructure will lead to higher energy costs for households and businesses between 2016 and 2020 of $5.4 billion, a reduction in disposable income that could top $12 billion, and 167,600 jobs lost or not created. These impacts would ramp up from 2016 through 2020, with similar or larger impacts expected beyond that timeframe if infrastructure is not added.
These consequences would be on top of the reported $7.5 billion in higher energy costs the region has already incurred over the past three winters due to the natural gas pipeline system reaching maximum capacity during winter months to meet both electricity generation and space heating demands, according to the coalition.
The study marks the launch of the New England Coalition for Affordable Energy which was formed to advocate for the expansion of the region’s natural gas and electricity infrastructure – to make these vital energy commodities more affordable to consumers and businesses.
While the Coalition does not take positions on individual projects, the organization claims its mission is to provide factual information, credible research and analyses to policymakers, elected officials and the public on the need for energy infrastructure. The Coalition also advocates for the importance of timely decision-making and highlights the consequences of inaction.
Founding members from all six New England states represent tens of thousands of employers ranging from small, independent firms to multi-national corporations: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Associated Industries of Vermont, Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire, Brotherhood of Utility Workers Council, UWUA 369, Connecticut Business & Industry Association, Independent Oil Marketers Association of New England, NAIOP Massachusetts, National Federation of Independent Business (Conn., Mass., Maine, R.I. and Vt. chapters), Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Rhode Island Business Coalition.