Proposed Natural Gas Line Expansion to Impact Windham
January 16, 2015
by Barbara O’Brien
The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, is developing the Northeast Energy Direct Project by upgrading infrastructure in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut to help meet an increased demand for natural gas.
Representatives of Kinder Morgan recently met with Windham Selectmen to provide an overview of the proposed project and its potential impact on the region. Kinder Morgan is the largest energy infrastructure company in North America. The corporation owns an interest in or operates approximately 80,000 miles of pipelines and 180 terminals. These pipelines transport natural gas, refined petroleum products, crude oil, carbon dioxide and other products. Kinder Morgan also stores or handles a variety of products and materials at their terminals, such as gasoline, jet fuel, ethanol, coal, petroleum and steel.
According to a representative of Kinder Morgan, New England currently has the highest electricity rates in all of North America. The goal of expanding the existing pipeline is to provide lower cost fuel to power-generating utilities and, thereby, reduce the cost of electricity to consumers. “We are a transport company,” said Allen Fore, vice president of Public Affairs, Kinder Morgan. “We get the fuel from where it is and send it to where it’s needed.” In the past, much of the natural gas had to be transported to New England all the way from the Gulf region. The existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline has been in place for the past 60 years and crosses 10 municipalities in New Hampshire; for a total of 50 miles. These days, however, the sources are much closer to New England, with much of it coming from Pennsylvania. “It’s much closer than before and much more abundant,” said Fore.
The plan is to install most of the new pipeline adjacent to the two existing Tennessee Gas Pipelines, therefore, limiting the impact on affected communities. The new pipeline will be buried underground, a minimum of three feet deep, and the ground above the pipe will be restored to its natural environment. There will be a new compressor station constructed in New Hampshire, but it won’t be in Windham, according to the company’s representative. Currently, a compressor station is situated in the Town of Pelham. The two existing pipes are 12 and 20 inches in diameter. The proposed pipeline will likely be either 30 or 36 inches in diameter. Several billion dollars is dedicated to the overall Northeast Energy Direct Project, which includes New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine.
Kinder Morgan is still in the process of procuring power-generating customers and has just completed the pre-filing process with state and federal agencies. Permit applications are expected to be filed during the fourth quarter of 2015. The earliest possible construction would begin in 2017, with the first natural gas being transported some time in 2018. A maximum of 2.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas could be transported through the pipeline on a daily basis.
“The state and federal governments make the final decision on routes,” explained Fore. “Kinder Morgan only makes the proposal.” Plans are to coordinate the new natural gaslines with existing power line routes. A minimum 50-foot corridor (right-of-way) is required. “A lot of public input will be sought before any decisions are made,” he said.
The new pipeline would cover 2.2 miles in Windham and would affect 46 landowners; each of whom would be financially compensated for the use of their property. “We want to make this project as least impactful as possible,” Fore said.
It is anticipated that about 3,000 jobs would be created during the construction process. In addition, Kinder Morgan estimates that Windham would garner an additional $260,000 annually in property taxes once the project is operational.
Marc Kovacs, chairman of the Local Energy Committee, wanted to know if the natural gas would just be transported through New Hampshire, and then exported elsewhere. Fore responded that the gas would be “predominately meant for New England.” “The demand is right here,” he said. When questioned about the safety of the pipeline, the representative said, “Pipelines are the safest mode of transport.”
Learn More at an Open House
The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company is planning to expand its existing pipeline system to serve the growing demand for interstate natural gas transmission service in the northeastern United States. The Northeast Energy Direct Project is being developed to meet the growing energy needs in the Northeast and, more specifically, the New England region.
TGP plans to host open houses in January and February for the portion of the project located from Wright, N.Y., to Dracut, Mass. Below are the details of two local open houses. All open houses are from 6 to 8 p.m. A light buffet will be served. Landowners will receive notification of the open houses via mail, and ads will be placed in local newspapers to inform the public.
Londonderry High School cafeteria; 295 Mammoth Rd., Londonderry
White Birch Banquet Hall; 222 Central St., Hudson