NY can skip RM4b Williams gas line, green group says

NEW YORK • New York can forgo The Williams Cos Inc’s US$1 billion (RM4.06 billion) natural gas pipeline expansion by instead boosting energy efficiency and adopting renewable technologies, a green group said.

National Grid plc, the main customer for the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project, has said the supply increase would allow it to meet a growing need for gas in New York City, which is phasing out the use of heavy oils to heat buildings.

But Williams’ demand projections are too high — given that boiler conversions have already taken place, alternatives are available and National Grid is already starting to test conservation programmes, according to a 350.org report published on Tuesday.

The Williams project “is completely unnecessary and would unwisely lock the state of New York into a pipeline gas market expansion plan” that would also subvert state policies and initiatives, according to the 350.org report led by Suzanne Mattei. The 35-page report comes as environmental groups push back against fossil fuel development amid concern about climate change.

Even as opposition has stalled billions of dollars of eastern US pipeline projects, the country’s reliance on gas has increased.

National Grid has stopped connecting some new customers, while Consolidated Edison Inc issued a moratorium on gas hook-ups in New York’s Westchester County.

“We stand by our forecast data in making sure that we have natural gas supply to meet the increased demand from new customers and ensure reliability,” Karen Young, a spokeswoman for National Grid in Brooklyn, said in an email. “We have not yet reviewed the report.”

Williams, which is planning the expansion on its Transco gas system to boost supplies into New York City boroughs and Long Island, referred questions to National Grid. — Bloomberg