A Solution is Needed
New England’s energy consumers are facing serious and well-documented electric reliability and price challenges. The region is also dealing with increasing air emissions from the use of coal- and oil-fired electric generation, and a lack of sufficient quick-start backstops to intermittent renewable power sources that would support New England’s renewable energy initiatives. The Access Northeast project is specifically designed to be a solution to these regional challenges. The project's partners continue to pursue a viable commercial and operational model to provide clean-burning natural gas to electric generators in New England in support of the region's emission goals.
Unfortunately, the complexity of any regional solution requires clarity among the New England states regarding the support and legal authority for electric distribution companies to contract for project capacity. When the states achieve alignment – in the form of uniform energy policy supporting natural gas infrastructure for electric reliability – the project's partners remain able and committed to bringing Access Northeast to New England consumers.
With increasing reliance on natural gas for electric generation, this project provides a critical opportunity to improve New England's future energy reliability, cost volatility and competitiveness. Access Northeast also supports clean energy initiatives in New England by ensuring renewable generating facilities are back-stopped during periods of intermittency. In other words, Access Northeast helps, and does not hinder as some have suggested, the ongoing transition to renewables.
Access Northeast's partners will continue working with state and federal agencies, as well as other stakeholders, to help close gaps in legal authority that are currently prohibiting the region from achieving its significant environmental goals, as the current system configuration requires the continued operation of older, higher emitting generation units, such as coal and oil plants.