The Continued Need for PennEast
Underscoring the continued need for direct access to one of the most abundant and affordable supplies of clean natural gas in all of North America via the proposed PennEast Pipeline, three of the four New Jersey gas utilities companies filed June 1 for natural gas commodity rate increases after years of declining costs.
Growing demand for clean-burning natural gas in the gas utility and electric sectors and insufficient infrastructure to move new supplies are contributing to increasing costs. Natural gas commodity prices are straight costs passed directly to ratepayers without additional charges from utility companies.
With natural gas now powering half the electricity in New Jersey at half the carbon emissions as coal, the news follows a three-year future electric power auction held last week, where “prices for customers in New Jersey increased dramatically,” according to NJ.com.
PennEast “Will Deliver Enormous New Supplies”
“Natural gas is driving down carbon emissions and is the most abundant, lowest cost and reliable fuel available to help grow New Jersey’s economy and make it more competitive for job growth while improving our environment,” said Pat Kornick, spokesperson for PennEast Pipeline. “The proposed PennEast Pipeline, which is on track for federal approval this summer, will deliver enormous new supplies to the region to reduce energy costs for families and businesses, and ensure access to reliable, affordable energy for decades to come.”
According to NJSpotlight, when asked if the higher gas commodity costs filed June 1 signaled an end to the natural-gas boom, New Jersey’s Rate Counsel replied, “Not at all.” She said the Marcellus Shale supplies were a “game-changer, and it still is.”
In addition to every major business and labor organization in New Jersey backing the PennEast Pipeline Project, PJM, the world’s largest wholesale electric grid operator, last year specifically cited in a presentation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that PennEast is needed to support electric grid reliability and fuel diversity.
New Jersey Will Realize Numerous Benefits
“PennEast Pipeline will help ensure the lights come on when we need them by directly accessing new supply points rather than traditional lines that move natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico,” added Kornick. “With three government agencies now agreeing the PennEast Pipeline can be constructed while protecting the environment, New Jersey will realize numerous benefits via lower electric and gas bills, thousands of new jobs, enhanced grid reliability and a cleaner environment through reduce carbon emissions.”
Last week, PSE&G, the second largest shipper on the PennEast Pipeline, also finalized closure of its last two coal power plants in New Jersey, citing low-cost natural gas as the primary reason. The Star Ledger on Wednesday reported it is part of “a trend occurring around the nation, as low-priced natural gas crowds out the fuel that once provided the bulk of electricity, as well as most of the pollution – mercury and other airborne toxin and greenhouse-gas emissions that contributed to climate change.”