The Access Northeast project is designed to strategically upgrade the existing Algonquin Gas Transmission system and add regional liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage assets in New England. This approach will avoid overbuilding new pipeline infrastructure while still delivering up to 925,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of natural gas, beginning in late 2018.
On average, New England counts on clean-burning natural gas for approximately half of its power generation needs. However, the Independent System Operator of New England has identified that constraints in the existing pipeline network have prevented natural gas-fired power generation from being utilized when it is needed during periods of peak demand, such as cold winter days. Additional natural gas capacity through a project that directly connects to power plants will give New Englanders the benefits of greater electric reliability, lower electricity prices for residential and commercial users, and support for the region’s growing use of renewable energy.
Access Northeast - being developed by Eversource Energy, National Grid and Spectra Energy Partners - is designed to maximize direct pipeline interconnects to over 60% of New England’s power plants, will lower costs and save money, increase reliability, be scalable for times of peak demand, and support renewable energy sources.
By the Numbers
$1 billion to $2.5 billion
Annual savings in energy costs, starting as early as 2018, will be realized by New England commercial and residential consumers during years with normal to severe winters because of the Access Northeast project.
New England homes will be powered by the 5,000 MW of electricity generated each day by the natural gas supplied by the Access Northeast project.
More than 95%
Of the Access Northeast project will use existing pipeline and utility corridors and natural gas infrastructure, minimizing impacts on the environment and landowners.
If Access Northeast had been operational for the winter of 2014-15, New England carbon emissions would have been reduced by 3.4 million tons, the equivalent of taking 650,000 cars off the road for a year.
More natural gas pipeline capacity will provide a greater source of reliability to support a growing number of wind and solar units and provide New England with quick start power generation capabilities to reliably meet demand.
The Independent System Operator for New England (ISO-NE) has stated that approximately 30% of New England’s electric generating capacity could be gone by 2020, and will be replaced largely with natural gas-fired power generation. This map shows retiring New England power plants.
Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, and its use in highly efficient generators will continue the region’s recent reductions in air pollution and greenhouse gases. In fact according to ISO-NE, regional emissions have decreased over the past 10 years due to the increased use of highly efficient natural-gas-fired generators.
The Critical “Last Mile”
Gas deliveries to electric generators can only be guaranteed for those with “last mile” firm transportation contracts that ensure natural gas makes it all the way to the power plants. Electric generators without “last mile” firm transportation contracts have no guarantees of gas deliveries on peak demand days, regardless of firm contracts they may have on other pipelines. Access Northeast will maximize direct pipeline interconnects to deliver natural gas to up to 60% of New England’s power plants, helping to meet the region’s energy challenge.
The Access Northeast project addresses the “last mile” of pipeline capacity necessary to meet the growing natural gas transportation needs of electric generation and distribution companies throughout New England on the coldest days of the year, when demand for power is greatest. Access to more natural gas is critical to keeping the lights on, heating and cooling homes and fueling growth in domestic manufacturing, all while reducing air emissions and keeping energy costs low for homeowners and job creators in the region.
Spectra Energy Partners is one of the largest MLPs in the United States and owns interests in pipeline and storage facilities that connect growing supply areas to high-demand markets for natural gas and crude oil.
New England's largest energy delivery company serves over 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
As the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast, National Grid connects nearly 7 million customers to vital energy sources.