Algonquin kicks off FERC pre-app review of Access Northeast gas pipeline project

Filed on Nov. 3 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was an application by Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC to initiate the pre-filing environmental review process for the proposed Access Northeast Project, designed to bring new natural gas supplies into the northeast U.S., including supplies for a planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

This project is proposed to upgrade and expand the Algonquin pipeline system and construct an LNG storage facility in New England to deliver, on peak days, up to 925,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of natural gas. The project is designed to meet the capacity needs of natural gas fired electric generation as coal and nuclear generation resources retire. Access Northeast will be implemented in phases, with the initial phase currently projected to be operating as of Nov. 1, 2018.

With the ability to directly connect with 60% of ISO-New England’s power plants off the Algonquin and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline LLC systems, Access Northeast will provide critically needed natural gas pipeline capacity and market area storage to ensure the reliability of New England’s power generation fleet, the filing said. Further, over 95% of the pipeline route for this project will utilize existing pipeline right of way (ROW), utility corridors, roads and other existing ROW, thus minimizing impacts on the environment and communities.

The lack of adequate “last mile” supply deliverability continues to drive the cost of electricity higher and threaten reliability, the company added. The Access Northeast Project is designed to further the goals of reducing the cost of electricity and increasing the reliability of the New England electric system to benefit electric distribution customers. Since electric generation has not been directly served by recent Algonquin expansion projects, this project is intended to satisfy demand for firm natural gas transportation capacity that has not been previously addressed and has utility independent of other expansion projects.

Algonquin said it executed memoranda of understanding with seven electric distribution companies related to firm transportation service to deliver new natural gas supplies to the electric distribution companies’ service areas, with an initial project in-service date of Nov. 1, 2018. These electric distribution companies are:

  • Connecticut Light & Power d/b/a Eversource;
  • NSTAR Electric d/b/a Eversource in Massachusetts;
  • Public Service Co. of New Hampshire d/b/a Eversource;
  • Western Massachusetts Electric d/b/a Eversource;
  • Massachusetts Electric d/b/a National Grid;
  • Narragansett Electric d/b/a National Grid in Rhode Island;
  • Nantucket Electric d/b/a National Grid in Massachusetts;

Also, Central Maine Power, which submitted a bid in the open season for the Access Northeast Project to secure firm transportation service to deliver new natural gas supplies on the same projected in-service date. Algonquin said it is also in discussions with a local distribution company (LDC).

Algonquin held an open season for the Access Northeast Project from Feb. 18, 2015 through May 1, 2015. Additionally, Algonquin held a reverse open season for the Access Northeast Project from Oct. 2, 2015 through Oct. 30, 2015, to ascertain whether current firm shippers were interested in releasing transportation entitlements that would reduce the scope of Algonquin’s facility requirements for the project. Algonquin did not receive any offers to turn back capacity.

The project components include:

Mainline Pipeline Facilities

Construction of approximately 96.6 miles of mainline pipeline and looping, comprised of:

  • 1.2 miles of “take up and relay” (the removal and replacement of existing pipeline with new, larger diameter pipeline) of 26-inch diameter pipeline with 42-inch diameter pipeline in Rockland County, New York, upstream of Algonquin’s existing Ramapo Meter Station;
  • 12.7 miles of take up and relay of 26-inch diameter pipeline with 42-inch diameter pipeline in Westchester and Putnam counties, New York, upstream of Algonquin’s existing Southeast Compressor Station;
  • 17.6 miles of take up and relay of 26-inch diameter pipeline with 42-inch diameter pipeline in Fairfield and New Haven counties, Connecticut, upstream of Algonquin’s existing Oxford Compressor Station;
  • 13.5 miles of take up and relay of 26-inch diameter pipeline with 42-inch diameter pipeline in New Haven and Hartford counties, Connecticut, downstream of Algonquin’s existing Oxford Compressor Station;
  • 13.3 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline loop extension in Hartford and Tolland counties, Connecticut, downstream of Algonquin’s existing Cromwell Compressor Station;
  • 9.4 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline loop extension in Windham County, Connecticut, downstream of Algonquin’s existing Chaplin Compressor Station;
  • 3.0 miles of 24-inch diameter connector pipeline from Algonquin’s existing G-System pipeline to the Access Northeast LNG Facility in Bristol County, Massachusetts;
  • 21.7 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline loop in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, along Algonquin’s existing Q-1 System; and
  • 4.2 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline loop in Norfolk County, Massachusetts (“I-8 System Loop”).

Pipeline Lateral Facilities

  • Construct 26.8 miles of 16-inch diameter pipeline lateral (“West Boylston Lateral”) in Middlesex and Worcester counties, Massachusetts.

Compressor Station Installations

  • Construct a new compressor station (“Rehoboth Compressor Station”) in Bristol County, Massachusetts.

Compressor Station Modifications

Add additional compression and cooling at the following existing Algonquin compressor stations:

  • Stony Point Compressor Station, Rockland County, New York;
  • Southeast Compressor Station, Putnam County, New York;
  • Chaplin Compressor Station, Windham County, Connecticut;
  • Burrillville Compressor Station, Providence County, Rhode Island; and
  • Weymouth Compressor Station, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.

Restaging at the following existing Algonquin compressor stations:

  • Oxford Compressor Station, New Haven County, Connecticut; and
  • Cromwell Compressor Station, Middlesex County, Connecticut.

Additional aboveground facilities including M&R stations, launcher/receivers and valve stations will be constructed or modified as needed. Algonquin anticipates new M&R stations for the proposed Access Northeast LNG Facility, and the West Boylston Lateral; however, the location of these facilities, and the quantity and location of other aboveground facilities have not been determined at this time.

LNG Storage

The proposed Access Northeast LNG Facility will be located on an approximately 210-acre site in Acushnet, Massachusetts. The site is adjacent to an existing Eversource-owned LNG facility and the property will be leased from Eversource under a long-term lease. The proposed LNG facility will be run as a peaking facility to supply natural gas during peak periods of demand. The proposed LNG facility will be interconnected to the Algonquin G-System through which Algonquin will receive vaporized gas from the LNG facility during periods of peak demand and will deliver gas for liquefaction to fill the tanks year-round, but primarily outside of periods of peak demand.

The proposed LNG peaking facility will not replace the existing Eversource facility tanks or be an expansion of the existing facility. No modifications to the existing LNG facility are proposed.

Components of the Access Northeast LNG Facility may include:

  • Two LNG storage tanks with a total combined capacity of 6.8 billion cubic feet (BCF);
  • Liquefaction and regasification capability;
  • An on-site pipeline that connects the proposed LNG facility to the proposed pipeline connecting to the Algonquin Mainline;
  • A new access road off Peckham Road to serve both construction and operation of the LNG facility; and
  • Other assorted on-site structures and equipment, as required to support the operation and maintenance of the proposed facility.

A project contact is: Jennifer Rinker, Senior Counsel, Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC, P.O. Box 1642, Houston, Texas 77251-1642, Phone: (713) 627-5221, jrinker@spectraenergy.com.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.