Synapse is thrilled to announce the release of a new report, New England’s Shrinking Need for Natural Gas. This report examines the need for, and the cost of, the Access Northeast (ANE) natural gas pipeline. As proposed, the ANE pipeline relies on a novel funding mechanism whereby electric ratepayers would pay for new gas pipelines. This unprecedented funding proposal has spurred controversy and litigation: the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission both rejected this approach, declaring that it violates state laws enacted to restructure the electric utility sector and to protect consumers from undue financial risk. Pipeline proponents claim that the ANE pipeline is needed to relieve capacity constraints on New England’s natural gas pipeline system and that the cost of the pipeline is justified because it will ultimately save money for New England electric ratepayers.
Our analysis shows otherwise. Any savings created by the ANE pipeline are likely to be outweighed by its costs, which are more than twice what proponents have generally reported. Our analysis also indicates that the need for natural gas in New England will decrease dramatically within a few years of ANE’s construction. This would alleviate the capacity constraints cited to justify the pipeline. We modeled energy use, prices, and emissions in a base scenario in which there is no new pipeline compared to a scenario in which the ANE pipeline is constructed.
Read the report for our analysis and findings.
This report was prepared for the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Consumers for Sensible Energy, Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, Pipe Line Awareness Network for the Northeast, Sierra Club Connecticut, and Sierra Club Massachusetts