What's New at NGA?

September 22, 2017
NGA's Fall Operations Conference to Be Held October 12-13 in Hartford, CT
NGA's annual Fall Operations Conference will be held October 12-13, 2017 in Hartford, CT. This year's program emphasizes issues relating to these topics: Customer Field Services; Safety & Health; Measurement; Damage Prevention; Pipeline Integrity; Pipeline Safety Management Systems; Corrosion; and QA/QC. The program and registration information are posted on the conference webpage: http://www.northeastgas.org/2017_fall_ops_conf.php

FERC Finds NYS DEC Waived its Water Quality Certification Authority in Millennium Project Case
On September 15, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a declaratory order finding that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has waived its water quality certification authority under section 401 of the Clean Water Act with respect to the Millennium Pipeline Company Valley Lateral Project, CP16-17-000. In its decision, the FERC stated: "Here, consistent with our precedent in both [Natural Gas Act] cases and hydroelectric licensing proceedings under the Federal Power Act, we conclude that the triggering date for waiver under section 401 of the CWA as the date the certifying agency receives a certification application. In this case, New York DEC received Millennium's formal written application on November 23, 2015. By failing to act on Millennium's request for certification by November 23, 2016, we find that the agency waived its certification authority. To find otherwise would frustrate the purpose of the one-year review period specified by the CWA and allow state agencies to indefinitely delay proceedings by determining applications to be incomplete." In late August, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) had issued a conditional denial of water quality certificate to Millennium Pipeline Company for its proposed Valley Lateral Project. The project involves 7.8 miles of lateral pipeline to bring natural gas to a new 650 MW natural gas power plant in NY State, which is expected to begin operations in early 2018.

NYS DEC Issues Certificates for Millennium's Eastern System Upgrade Project
In late August, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued water quality and air quality permits for Millennium Pipeline's Eastern System Upgrade Project, which is expected to add 223 MMcf/d of capacity on the eastern end of Millennium's system. That project is expected to enter service in fall 2018.

Pinelands Commission Approves "Southern Reliability Link" Project in NJ
On September 14, the Pinelands Commission voted 8-4 to approve The Southern Reliability Link, a 30-mile natural gas pipeline proposed by New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG). The pipeline is planned to run through Burlington, Monmouth and Ocean counties. The project is designed to strengthen the NJNG network and enhance reliability, by offering a backup source of natural gas should the primary line become disrupted. Look for further details here: https://www.njng.com/about/southern-reliability-link/index.asp

NGA Recognizes Unitil as 2017 Safety & Health Award Recipient
Each year NGA conducts its "Excellence in Safety and Heath Recognition Program." It is the creation of NGA's Safety & Health Committee. The goal of the program is to recognize a new safety and/or health program developed by an NGA member utility company that has positively impacted the lives of employees, customers, or the general public.

NGA was pleased to announce on September 11 that the 2017 utility recipient is Unitil.

Unitil is being recognized for its innovative integrated pipeline asset data acquisition program. This program improves the accuracy of pipeline material and installation data, and incorporates GPS-aided location data to enhance threat identification and mitigation, and lower risk.

Congratulations to Unitil!

Call Before You Dig!
NGA and its member companies remind homeowners and contractors to call 811 before they dig to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages. The main link for information is: http://call811.com. As well, each of the Northeast states has a local "One Call Center." They range from "Call Before You Dig" in Connecticut to "Dig Safely New York" to "One Call New Jersey" to "Dig Safe"a in five New England states to "Pennsylvania811". NGA has links to all the sites linked through the "Public Awareness" section of its web site, at http://www.northeastgas.org/call_centers.php
Utilize these important resources - be aware - and be safe!

Census Data for 2016 Shows Increasing Home Heating Share for Gas in Region
In mid-September, the U.S. Census Bureau released updated data for house heating fuels by state, for the year 2016 (1-year estimates). The updated natural gas shares by state are: Connecticut, 35%; Maine, 8%; Massachusetts, 52%; New Hampshire, 21%; New Jersey, 75%; New York, 59%; Pennsylvania, 52%; Rhode Island, 54%; and Vermont, 18%. NGA's summary of the home heating fuel share by state based on Census data is available here: http://www.northeastgas.org/mkt_trends_natgas_region.php

U.S. EIA Releases International Energy Annual - Natural Gas Continues Growth
On September 14, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released its latest International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017). The report projects that world energy consumption will grow by 28% between 2015 and 2040. Renewables are expected to be the fastest-growing energy source, with consumption increasing by an average 2.3% per year between 2015 and 2040. The world's second fastest-growing source of energy is projected to be nuclear power, with consumption increasing by 1.5% per year over that period. Natural gas, which has a lower carbon intensity than coal and petroleum, is the fastest-growing fossil fuel in the outlook, with global natural gas consumption increasing by 1.4% per year. The relatively high rate of natural gas consumption growth is attributed to abundant natural gas resources and rising production-including supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane. Look for further details here: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=32912

Transco Announces Rivervale Proposal for NJ-NY Market
On September 1, Williams Partners L.P. announced that Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco) has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking authorization for its Rivervale South to Market project, which would create 190,000 dekatherms per day of firm transportation capacity to northeastern markets in time for the 2019/2020 winter heating season. Transco has executed precedent agreements with Direct Energy Business Marketing, LLC and UGI Energy Services, LLC for firm transportation service under the project. Once complete, the project will help meet the growing heating and power generation demand for northeastern consumers, primarily in New Jersey and New York. Subject to regulatory approval, the Rivervale South to Market project will consist of uprating 10.35 miles of existing Transco pipeline, adding a 0.61-mile pipeline loop, as well as upgrades and modifications to existing pipeline facilities, all in New Jersey. The certificate application reflects an expected capital cost of $127 million and a target in-service date of Nov. 1, 2019.

RGGI States Announce Proposal to Reduce Regional Carbon Emissions by Additional 30% by 2030
On August 23, the nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation's first market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, announced consensus on a set of draft program elements that will guide the RGGI states as they conduct final economic analysis and establish a post-2020 path forward for the program. The RGGI states propose a regional cap trajectory that will provide an additional 30% cap reduction by the year 2030, relative to 2020 levels. The proposed regional program changes include the addition of an Emissions Containment Reserve (ECR) wherein states can withhold allowances from auction if emission reduction costs are lower than projected. The RGGI states will seek stakeholder comment on the draft program elements in a public meeting to be held on September 25th. After reviewing stakeholder comments, conducting additional economic analysis, and releasing updated materials including a revised Model Rule, states will follow state-specific statutory and regulatory processes to propose updates to their CO2 Budget Trading Programs.