New England’s love affair with natural gas appears to be showing strains as the region experiences too much demand on limited supplies and a leading environmental group says converting homes to gas heat would not benefit the environment, according to an article on FuelFix.com.
“The changing mood follows more than a decade of explosive growth in the use of natural gas to heat and especially to power the six-state region’s homes and businesses,” the article states. “Natural gas industry leaders say they are poised for continued rapid growth despite the warning bells being rung in other quarters.”
Since 2000, New England’s dependence on natural gas for electricity has soared. The fuel now powers 52 percent of the region’s electricity supply, compared to just 15 percent in 2000. ISO-New England spokeswoman Marcia Blomberg said recently that the organization is in the midst of a major study to determine if the region’s power grid has become too reliant on natural gas and, if so, what might be done to address the issue, FuelFix reported.
Gordon van Welie, CEO of ISO-New England, recently told a U.S. Senate committee that the key natural gas supply issue is the limited capacity of pipelines carrying the fuel into New England. Twice this past winter, the operator experienced difficulty getting the supplies they needed, he said. “We were very close to the edge of reliability in very poor weather circumstances,” van Welie said at a May 14 hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Meanwhile, the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is trying to block Vermont Gas Systems from extending a gas pipeline from the area of northwestern Vermont that it currently serves southward along the western side of the state. CLF expert Elizabeth Stanton rebutted Vermont Gas Systems’ claim that the project would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “On the contrary, Stanton testified, any savings from using cleaner-burning gas over heating oil in homes and businesses along the route would be more than offset by pipeline leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere,” the article states.
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