By Hal Peterson
To understand what the governor has in mind let’s consider the suppliers position first. National Grid is a British multinational electricity and gas utility company headquartered in Warwick, United Kingdom. Its principal activities are in the United Kingdom while serving 1.8 million gas customers in Downstate New York and our homes. On their web site the following notice was posted: “If you are converting to natural gas, expanding your service or constructing a new structure in our service area, your request will not be processed until current gas supply constraints are addressed.” PS: Natural gas is considered a clean energy alternative emitting lower levels of harmful emissions such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitro oxides.
About the project: The above map shows the proposed new 17-mile new line (red) buried 4 feet below the sea floor. When connected to the existing (blue) line it will provide an additional 400 million cubic feet per day to the Rockaway’s in Queens. Construction would be phased to avoid potential impacts to marine species including shellfish.
The governor’s position is explained in a letter released to both National Grid’s U.K.-based chief executive, John Pettigrew, and its New York president, John Bruckner, Tuesday giving the company 14 days’ notice of his intent to revoke the downstate gas franchise, citing their “mishandling of the gas supply system” on Long Island and New York City.
Why? One, he considers National Grids proposal (one of six previously approved and constructed in the state since 2017, at a cost of $3 billion) a “single, speculative project” not in the best interest of New Yorker’s.
He has a better idea asking us to consider his new “Green Deal” alternative program (a first in the nation) that will result in a “100% carbon-free “clean power” environment footprint by 2040 centered on the use wind and solar power.
Two, last May, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation entered the debate to determine the viability of the project. They reviewed over 14,000 public comments and heard over 100 oral arguments (80% negative) in reaching a decision to deny the permits required because of “significant water quality and shellfish impact concerns.”
Last but not least he also slammed his own agency, the PSC, the regulator of state utilities, for “not riding heard” on National Grid, and requiring the company to have alternate means of getting natural gas to the area while the construction of a new and controversial pipeline is in dispute .So much for the regulators’ important role and responsibility.
Time for me to jump in. Both National Grid and Con Edison are on record that they cannot continue to serve the growing needs of their customers without the additional supplies of natural gas. As discussed previously, the owners of our building will no longer expand because of the uncertainty of supply. On Long Island, National Grid serves 600,000 customers.
I’ll close using the following comment by State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan (R-Northport) who took issue with Cuomo’s list of alternatives and his threat to revoke National Grid’s license. “Whether National Grid or any other company serves downstate, the laws of supply and demand still exist,” Flanagan said in a statement, adding, “We no longer have time for this political theater.”