The power of natural gas pipeline developers to take private property using eminent domain will come under the scrutiny of state lawmakers this legislative session.
Federal law dictates that any interstate gas pipeline which has won approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) is granted the power to take land it needs for the project, so long as it pays fair market price.
Jim Belanger, a Republican from Hollis, has sponsored two bills at the request of a constituent in his town. "They weren't my idea," he says.
The state’s largest electric company has asked for a winter price hike. Even after the increase Public Service of New Hampshire will still have the lowest winter rate of any utility in the state.
PSNH has asked regulators for an energy rate of 10.56 six cents per kilowatt hour, an increase from the current rate of 9.87 cents per kWh. The utility estimates that for an average rate-payer, using between 500 and 700 kWh per month, bills will rise somewhere between $5 and $8.
A natural gas pipeline developer says New Hampshire is now its preferred route for a brand new project it hopes to build in 2017.
Kinder Morgan, a Texas-based deveoper, had initially planned to route the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline through Northern Massachusetts. After grass-roots groups and several politicians pushed back against the plan, the developer began to explore alternatives.
Kinder Morgan, a natural gas pipeline developer, says it is seriously considering an alternative route for a major new pipeline that would bring the line up into New Hampshire. The new route would bury the pipeline almost entirely under power lines in existing rights of way.
Currently, the expansion to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline network is proposed to run through Northern Massachusetts, where it has sparked the concerns of residents.
Some electricity customers in New Hampshire are in for a shock this winter. Numerous utilities across New England have announced electricity rates that are some of the highest in the history of the continental United States. And it’s a problem that’s expected to get worse before it gets better.
For some consumers, this is more real than for others. Don Sage and his wife make due on a bit less than $30,000 a year in social security payments. So he can ill-afford to pay another $40 a month on his electric bills.
New Hampshire is hosting the latest summit between the governors of the New England states and the Premiers of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. The conference takes place Monday at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, and follows a similar meeting held in Quebec last September.
At a forum on New England’s energy challenges at St. Anselm College, a panel of supporters of an energy proposal by the six New England Governors fielded tough questions. The plan is to pay for natural gas pipelines and transmission lines through a new charge on the electric bills of customers throughout the region.
The panel of state energy officials from New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island defended the governors’ plan, while some in the audience suggested the plan amounted to picking winners and losers.
An Environmental Group says regional energy policy makers and the natural gas industry have too cozy a relationship. To prove their case the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released a series of documents obtained by right to know requests. Those indicated therein say the claim is overblown.
The release highlights a growing unease in the environmental community toward bringing new natural gas pipeline into New England.
ISO New England, the region’s energy grid operator, has suspended the independent supplier People’s Power and Gas. 5,700 Granite State customers who turned to PPG for lower rates will be automatically switched to prices set by Public Service of New Hampshire.
With its abundance and low price, natural gas has recently become New England’s preferred energy source, viewed by some as a cleaner fossil fuel. But growing demand has also raised concerns – about the reliability of supplies and possible price hikes. Also, there are long-term questions about becoming too dependent on natural gas.
Dear EarthTalk: I recently saw an article extolling the virtues of natural gas as an abundant, inexpensive and domestically produced automotive fuel. Is this going to be the automotive fuel of the future and how green is it? -- Jason Kincaide, New Bedford, MA
The extremely low prices for natural gas – which can be used to generate electricity - have some opponents of Northern Pass wondering whether Hydro-Quebec might reconsider the project. But a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that’s unlikely.
Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 7:43 am
There's a boom in natural gas production in the United States, a boom so big the market is having trouble absorbing it all.
The unusually warm weather this winter is one reason for the excess, since it reduced the need for people to burn gas to heat their homes. A bigger reason, however, is the huge increase in gas production made possible by new methods of coaxing gas out of shale rock formations.