Northern Access Project
On Monday August 6th, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled against the DEC and in favor of National Fuel’s Northern Access pipeline. The pipeline will supply natural gas to Western New York and Ontario, Canada, from northern Pennsylvania through Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Erie County.This ruling removes a major barrier to the completion of this project which will help improve reliability of the energy grid while also bringing abundant, cheap natural gas from Pennsylvania to Western New York customers. The pipeline will run from McKean County, Pennsylvania, through Allegheny, Cattaraugus and Erie counties in New York, delivering an incremental 490 MMcf/d out of Pennsylvania.
The project has been on hold since April 2017 when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied a water quality certification. Northern Access represents a $500 million investment by National Fuel in the Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania economies while also adding much needed gas infrastructure.
In addition, the Northern Access project will help bolster access to an abundant supply of low-cost energy while putting skilled labor to work. National Fuel estimates the project will create 1,700 jobs during the peak construction phase. The continued development of natural gas infrastructure has significantly helped lower the energy bills of Western New Yorkers.
Barring a legal challenge from the NYSDEC, the pipeline may begin construction this year to enter into service in the fall of 2019.
CPV Valley Energy Center
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on August 1 told Competitive Power Ventures, owner of the 680-MW CPV Valley plant, that it was not going to renew its Air State Facility permit. The DEC explained in a letter that due to regulatory changes a Title V Clean Air Act permit is required to run the plant and CPV’s ASF permit expired July 31. A Title V Clean Air Act permit requires a more-comprehensive application with more time for public input, including at least 45 days for review by the EPA.
On August 15 Acting New York Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough granted CPV’s request for an injunction so it can operate the plant as it awaits the outcome of the permitting dispute. CPV stated that tests at the $956 million, 630-MW plant are expected to resume as early as August 16. The plant began operating on a test basis using diesel fuel in February and had planned to begin full-time commercial operation as soon as this month before the DEC stepped in. The plant originally was scheduled to begin commercial operation in February but that was delayed because the DEC had not finished permitting Millennium Pipeline Co.’s Valley Lateral Pipeline, which supplies natural gas to the plant. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Millennium permission to operate the 7.8-mile pipeline in July, more than three years after Millennium submitted its application to FERC. The plant began tests of its gas and steam turbines at the plant using natural gas on July 9.