Many infrastructure projects have been proposed that would provide households and businesses with more affordable energy. To replace the retiring coal, oil and nuclear units and meet renewable portfolio standards, private developers are proposing to build 13,000 MW of generation, including nearly 8,200 MW of natural gas-fired generation (63 percent) which would further constrain the pipeline system and more than 4,200 MW of wind (33 percent).
However, not all of these proposed projects will be built. According to ISO New England, there is an attrition rate of about 67 percent of projects proposed. This means that about 4,300 MW of the 13,000 MW of proposed generation will actually get built – substantially less than what may be required.
Contributing to this high attrition rate is the fact that all infrastructure projects must satisfy safety, environmental, cost and operational concerns through a comprehensive regulatory process that allows for meaningful and important public input. But many face opposition that goes well beyond legitimate concerns, seeking only to obstruct and delay, negatively impacting consumers and businesses.
There could be severe economic consequences if new infrastructure is not built by 2020.
Affordable energy frees up dollars for investment in business expansion and job creation. By contrast, high energy costs limit business growth and economic activity.
In New England, because of inadequate energy infrastructure, we pay higher energy costs and our economy suffers. If we don’t expand our natural gas and electricity infrastructure, our region’s economy will lose an estimated $16.1 billion through 2020.
The economic consequences of failing to invest in energy infrastructure will be severe. Higher energy costs combined with a lack of economic activity from infrastructure construction will cost New England families $12.5 billion in lost income.
In other regions of the country, affordable energy is driving new economic growth and job opportunities. Businesses are choosing to locate and expand where affordable energy is available. New England should share in these opportunities as well.
We need to remove constraints holding back energy infrastructure projects and accelerate the approval and construction of new natural gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure.
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