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Spectra Energy insists natural gas pipeline is needed

Craig S. Semon

Worcester Telegram

After pushback from the Grafton Board of Selectmen on a proposed pipeline project, Spectra Energy Corp. this week said New England needs more pipeline capacity to meet increasing demand for natural gas.

On Tuesday, Grafton electmen rescinded the surveying and drilling permission they had granted nine months earlier for the West Boylston Lateral, a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run 27 miles through West Boylston, Boylston, Shrewsbury, Sutton, Millbury, Grafton, Upton, Milford and Medway. The 16-inch high-pressure pipe would be buried 3 feet deep.

"Local distribution companies in the region have identified a need for additional natural gas supplies to allow them to serve the increasing demand from consumers," he continued.

"Simply put, our pipeline is running full, demand is growing, and local distribution companies along with electricity generators need guaranteed supplies of natural gas to ensure they can heat and power our homes."

As part of the larger Access Northeast Project, the Houston-based Spectra Energy is proposing the pipeline project to upgrade the existing Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline system and add regional liquefied natural gas storage assets in New England to deliver up to 925,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas, enough for approximately 5,000 megawatts of electricity generation.

Being developed by Eversource Energy, National Grid and Spectra Energy, the pipeline is designed to maximize direct pipeline interconnects to over 60 percent of New England's power plants, to lower electricity prices for residential and commercial users, to increase reliability, be scalable for times of peak demand and support renewable energy sources, according to Access Northeast.

Mr. Diestel said increased supplies of clean-burning natural gas will help lower energy costs for all families and businesses in the region that rely on natural gas for heating or electricity.

"The Access Northeast project is a regional solution," Mr. Diestel said. "The project is designed - both physically, and in terms of proposed services - to reliably serve markets in New England and not for export."

Mr. Diestel said Spectra will keep working on the project.

"We along with our partners remain committed to serving New England consumers, achieving regional consensus on how to pay for this critically needed project, and being part of the solution," he said. "We are committed to working with local communities impacted by the proposed project and will provide a more comprehensive update regarding the path forward for the Access Northeast project after we have completed our comprehensive analysis of the project."

Read the full article here.

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