The November 2019 Settlement Agreement between the New York State Public Service Commission (“PSC”) and National Grid regarding National Grid’s recent self-imposed moratorium on new natural gas connections included a requirement for National Grid to conduct a long-term needs assessment. This whitepaper presents a preliminary alternative analysis that casts doubt on National Grid’s claim to need new gas infrastructure by analyzing National Grid’s findings from three perspectives:
- Whether the Predicted Need is Inflated
- Better Ways to Meet Demand
- Consistency with New York State and local climate goals
Careful, critical assessment of new gas infrastructure is necessary. Investment in new gas infrastructure with a decades-long lifespan can lead to stranded costs, under-utilized assets, and emissions that are incompatible with climate targets. Ratepayers may end up bearing undue costs, and investment in new pipeline capacity may discourage investments in energy efficiency, peak demand reduction programs, electrification of space heating and decarbonization of the grid, all of which are critical to a sustainable energy future. National Grid should play a constructive role in meeting New York State and local energy goals by vigorously promoting a comprehensive and integrated strategy that relies on energy efficiency, demand response, flexible load management, strategic electrification, reduction of gas leaks and renewable solutions.