By Tim Pearce
April 11, 2018 - New England’s push to transition its grid from fossil fuels to clean energy is hitting consumers hard with energy rates far above the rest of the nation, The Washington Examiner reported.
Residents of six states in the Northeast are paying 56 percent more for energy than the national average. Regulators and lawmakers are simultaneously killing projects for natural gas pipelines, wind turbines and hydropower.
“I am getting nervous in New England,” Robert Powelson, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said recently according to The Washington Examiner. “It is almost like a horror story.”
New England was hit particularly hard with snow and cold weather over the winter. Natural gas prices in the area spiked by nearly triple in some select markets, making New England the most expensive market for fuel in the world.
The cold snap forced utilities in New England to search internationally for fuel that could be shipped into Boston, even accepting natural gas that originated in Russia.
Ironically, New England sits next to one of the largest deposits of shale oil in the U.S., the Marcellus Shale that covers parts of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. A lack of pipelines leaves New England residents stranded, however, without a system to deliver enough natural gas to fill demand.
“The bottom line really is demand for natural gas is growing faster than the infrastructure to deliver natural gas,” Moody’s Analytics head energy economist Chris Lafakis told The Washington Examiner. “When you don’t have enough of it, goods start costing more than it should. In terms of consumers, it raises electricity prices. Economics have driven the industry to natural gas in a big way. So, it’s a great fuel to use, but we need to be able to deliver it cheaply and reliably.”
New England states have clean energy regulations that force utilities to add increasing amounts of clean energy facilities to their energy mix, but regulators have blocked projects that would help utilities hit the mandated goals. New Hampshire regulators killed a transmission line in February that would have imported hydropower from Canada. Regulators cited concerns over impact to tourism and business.
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