August 3, 2020 Read More →

New Hampshire utility cancels planned Granite Bridge gas pipeline

NHPR:

Liberty Utilities says it will not build the proposed Granite Bridge natural gas pipeline in Southern New Hampshire, after finding a cheaper way to serve new customers by using existing infrastructure.

The company told the state of the change in plans in a Public Utilities Commission filing Friday afternoon. The $340-million pipeline plan dated to late 2017 and drew fierce opposition from climate change activists, who oppose any expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the region.

Serving new customers was Liberty’s original goal in building Granite Bridge, which would have run about 27 miles along Route 101 between Stratham and Manchester — branching off the Concord Lateral, an existing, mainline gas artery owned by Texas-based Kinder Morgan.

Liberty initially said it would be too expensive to upgrade that larger pipeline to suit their needs. But last fall, PUC staff recommended they revisit that option before Granite Bridge could be approved. Liberty’s filing Friday comes in response to the PUC’s concerns. It says in recent months, Liberty learned that another user of the Concord Lateral — Calpine, which used the pipeline to serve its Londonderry power plant — would not renew its contract, expiring next fall, to use capacity on the pipeline.

This frees up space for Liberty to ink a proposed 20-year contract to run its own gas to new and existing customers on the Concord Lateral. They say it will still involve some upgrades to the pipeline and will cost about $90 million total.

“The new proposal could enable New Hampshire to eliminate more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions while preserving energy choice for New Hampshire consumers,” Liberty says in its press release.

[Annie Ropeik]

More: Liberty Utilities drops plans for major gas pipeline in N.H.

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