Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan to expand the use of hydroelectric power could sidetrack two proposed multi-billion-dollar natural gas pipelines in the state, according to a recent report on MassLive.com.
Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton told MassLive that Baker's hydroelectric bill could influence the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as it considers the proposed Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline through western and northern Massachusetts and the proposed Spectra natural gas pipeline in the eastern part of the state.
“FERC will base its decision about whether to approve the natural gas pipelines partially on whether there is a need for more natural gas in the region,” the article states. “Beaton’s argument is that if Massachusetts is able to import more hydropower, there would be less of a need for natural gas, so the pipelines would be less likely to get federal approval.”
“The more that we can move toward showing that diversified portfolio and showing that we are proactively addressing this issue, the more of an impact it could ultimately make on the final FERC decision,” Beaton told MassLive.
Gov. Baker has said that long-term hydroelectric power contracts would give Massachusetts a way to get away from an over-reliance on the volatility of the world natural gas market. If Massachusetts were to depend entirely on new natural gas, Baker said recently, “I think that comes with tremendous environmental and economic risks, and they’re ones I’m not willing to bear on the backs of Massachusetts ratepayers.”
To read the MassLive.com article, click here.
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