New York, NY – Energy Futures Group today released a new whitepaper that starkly calls into question the findings of National Grid’s Natural Gas Long-Term Capacity Report, which continues the utility’s push for the Williams NESE fracked gas pipeline in New York Harbor. The paper shows that, contrary to National Grid’s assertions, the overwhelming majority of the pipeline’s capacity could be offset by renewable, non-pipeline solutions and adjusted demand projections. The paper comes just ahead of National Grid’s public info sessions, set to begin tonight in Hicksville and continue elsewhere throughout the month.
The Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition issued the following statement:
In a fraction of the pages it takes National Grid to make yet another tortured, error-filled argument for the Williams NESE pipeline, this new whitepaper presents a practical, data-backed vision of a pipeline-free future that could be ours with the merest political will. It is up to Governor Cuomo. He will either be the leader that we know he can be by believing in the possible and stopping this pipeline for good, or he will side with corporate interests and approve the pipeline, becoming a climate denier and destroying any chance of upholding his own climate law. There is no third way.
The paper finds that when National Grid’s demand projections are adjusted to the more reasonable figures established by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), National Grid’s future energy needs are reduced by nearly 85 percent. In addition, the paper shows that a comprehensive, aggressive plan incorporating energy efficiency, demand response, flexible load management, strategic electrification and other non-pipeline solutions could meet as much as 88% percent of the Williams NESE pipeline’s peak day capacity. It also shows that if state climate goals are to be achieved, 95 percent of the NESE pipeline’s gas would need to be avoided.
National Grid’s report reaches its pro-pipeline conclusions, the paper finds, largely by omitting or skewing data. Along with the utility’s demand projections being far greater than those of the EIA, the projections also defy the company’s own historical data, which shows that gas demand slowed considerably over the past six years. There is also no mention of whether savings could be achieved by renewable innovations in the power sector, which account for roughly 30% of National Grid’s gas sales.
Regarding pipeline emissions, National Grid continues to claim that the NESE pipeline could achieve significant GHG savings by preventing customers from using dirtier fuels. Yet many of these assumptions have already been refuted, and National Grid’s conversion and growth projections are suspect and lack citations that would allow further scrutiny.
National Grid also continues to base its emissions data on a much maligned report by MJ Bradley, which drew its conclusions from the Department of Energy’s discredited data on methane leakage rates and on methane’s 100-year warming potential, not the more relevant 20-year time frame. National Grid cites the more accurate Environmental Defense Fund methane data and the more relevant warming window, but buries all of this information in an appendix.
In 2018, the EDF found that methane leakage rates were 60% higher than rates reported by the federal government. It is also widely known that, as a greenhouse gas, methane is 86 times more powerful than C02 over the first 20 years of its life, which is the relevant time frame for policy decisions given the IPCC’s requirement that emissions be halved in 10 years.
National Grid issued its report as part of a settlement with Governor Cuomo and the Public Service Commission that ended the utility’s self-imposed gas moratorium last fall. As part of that agreement, National Grid was required to produce a report on long-term energy solutions for the Downstate area and hold public meetings at which the public could deliberate the findings. (The PSC was only going to allow written comments until the Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition demanded that the meetings include a transparent public forum, which the PSC has since granted). Those meetings begin tonight in Hicksville and continue throughout the month in Jamaica, Downtown Brooklyn, Brighton Beach, Brentwood and Riverhead.
The Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition will be holding press conferences and rallies beginning at 5pm before the meetings in Hicksville, Jamaica, and Downtown Brooklyn, where it will urge Governor Cuomo and the Public Service Commission to listen to state climate law, not a discredited and disgraced corporate utility, in determining New York’s energy future.Print