National Grid Proposes Canada-New England Clean Energy Power Line
Electric Light & Power | March 30, 2017
National Grid is proposing to develop a new transmission project that would bring up to 1,200 MW of clean energy from Canada to the New England power grid.
To drive down costs, increase efficiency and minimize environmental impacts, the proposed Granite State Power Link will be constructed almost entirely along existing transmission corridors and will maximize use of existing infrastructure.
As proposed, the GSPL comprises two segments: the first is a new high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) overhead line located in Vermont alongside an existing HVDC line in an expanded right-of-way corridor from the international border at Norton, Vermont, to a proposed converter station on National Grid-owned property in Monroe, New Hampshire.
The Manchester, New Hampshire Union Leader reported the project carries a price tag of about $1 billion.
This is one of several transmission projects in some form of development that aim to bring low-cost hydropower and other forms of renewable energy south to the energy-hungry cities of the U.S. Northeast.
The second segment is an upgrade of an existing National Grid overhead line in New Hampshire to accommodate the additional power flow from the new HVDC line. That line runs from Monroe to southern New Hampshire, where a proposed switching station would be built.
“We believe this proposed project reflects the priorities we’ve heard from state and local communities on their need for lower cost, energy efficient and environmentally sound solutions,” said John Flynn, National Grid senior vice president of Business Development. “The GSPL meets these tests; our stakeholder engagement and outreach is underway and we look forward to continuing our work with communities of all types to earn their support. Community dialogue and engagement will be a hallmark of GSPL.”
GSPL is a commercial project; its development will be funded by National Grid and its investors, not customers of its regulated companies.
An investor in the project is a non-profit energy company that works with utilities and developers across the country to develop clean transmission projects and uses revenues from these ventures to finance new charitable programs to help low-income working families with their energy needs. Continuing this commitment, Massachusetts-based Citizens Energy has pledged to use 50 percent of its own profits from the project to fund energy assistance programs for local families living in New Hampshire and Vermont.
GSPL will provide economic benefits in New Hampshire and Vermont. More than an estimated 2,000 jobs will be created during construction and the project host communities and key state programs will receive significant new tax revenues and direct benefits. National Grid will be meeting with host communities and state officials in the coming months to discuss these and other benefits.
The project is also expected to lower energy costs across New England by $1.1 billion over its first 10 years of operation.
“We designed this project to be a win-win-win for New England’s energy consumers, the project host states and communities, and the environment,” Flynn said. “When you combine the project’s potential to lower regional electricity rates, economic development investment, environmental benefits, its cost-effectiveness, and the minimal visual and environmental impacts to the host communities, it’s clear that GSPL is uniquely positioned to bring clean energy to life in the region.”
"NVDA is pleased to support and welcome the development of the Granite State Power Link in the Northeast Kingdom," said Dave Snedeker, executive director of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association. "The project, developed next to an existing transmission corridor, will have a limited environmental and visual impact, and will deliver significant economic benefits to an area of Vermont that desperately needs an economic boost. We look forward to working with National Grid to further define what the specific economic benefits will be."
National Grid is a world leader in developing large, complex transmission projects, including major HVDC interconnectors. National Grid built, co-owns and operates the nation’s first HVDC system, which interconnects New England and Canada and has delivered up to 2,000 megawatts of clean energy for more than 25 years. In the UK, National Grid co-developed and co-owns interconnectors to France and the Netherlands, and is developing others that will connect the UK to Norway and Belgium. A second link to France is under consideration, along with interconnectors to Denmark and Iceland.
PJM Study Finds Electricity Grid System Can Remain Reliable With More Natural Gas, Renewables
Pittsburgh Business Times | March 30, 2017
A study released Thursday by PJM Interconnection, which coordinates the region's electricity transmission grid for Washington, D.C., and 13 states including Pennsylvania, found that its system can remain reliable even as fewer fuel sources are used to produce electricity.
In recent years, more and more coal plants have been retired, and nuclear's future is uncertain. At the same time, there's been an increase in natural gas — fueled by an abundance of the fuel from the Marcellus Shale and low prices — and renewables. That's led people to question whether the system is losing too much of its traditional fuel sources.
The study addressed these concerns, finding that PJM's current mix of fuel types used to generate electricity is reliable and diverse. It studied how reliable the system was at normal peak conditions, light load, very hot and very cold weather.
It also found that the system can remain reliable even as more natural gas and renewable resources come online.
"Fuel diversity is not directly an indication of reliability," said Mike Bryson, vice president of operations at PJM Interconnection, on a conference call Thursday morning. "We didn't see any operating issues with a high penetration of natural gas, … (but) we did see a renewable limit at 20 percent of operational capacity. That's still significantly more than what we have now."
But, the study found, reliance on any one fuel type could impact resiliency.
“This analysis underscores our responsibility to continue to operate the system reliably, and explore the role of resilience, the ability to tolerate unforeseen shocks and continue to deliver electricity,” said PJM CEO Andy Ott in a written statement. “Different resources provide different reliability attributes, though new technology or regulations have the ability to improve those capabilities. PJM needs to work with stakeholders and the industry to determine whether markets and operation structures need to shift to make sure that necessary levels of generator reliability characteristics are maintained in future resource mixes.”
Natural Gas and Oil Market Update
Natural Gas Prices Pare Losses After Data
Wall Street Journal | March 30, 2017
Natural gas prices pared losses after government data showed that natural gas stockpiles fell by more than usual for this time of year.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that natural gas supplies fell by 43 billion cubic feet last week. That’s roughly in line with the 42 billion cubic foot withdrawal anticipated by analysts and traders surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, but above the 27 billion cubic feet average.
Oil Hits Three-Week Highs As Opec Deal Extension Seen Likely
Reuters | March 30, 2017
Oil prices jumped for a third day on Thursday to their highest in three weeks after Kuwait gave its backing for an extension of OPEC production cuts in an attempt to reduce global oversupply.
Kuwait oil minister Essam al-Marzouq said his country was among several nations supporting the extension of a deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other exporters to limit output, state news agency KUNA reported.
EIA - Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report
Working gas in storage was 2,049 Bcf as of Friday, March 24, 2017, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 43 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 423 Bcf less than last year at this time and 250 Bcf above the five-year average of 1,799 Bcf. At 2,049 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
NYMEX Natural Gas Week-to-Week Price Change
Natural Gas Futures - Five Year Price ($ per mmBtu)
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