AG Study Urges Continued Investment in Energy Efficiency

Report Finds No Need for New Ratepayer-Funded Natural Gas Pipeline

BOSTON—Haste could make waste. That’s the key message of a study released today by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office evaluating strategies to ensure reliability for New England’s electric grid and help stabilize energy prices, especially in winter months.

Recently passed market-based incentive programs have enormous potential to reduce peak electricity demand and associated price spikes, but they need time to work, the study finds. The study suggests a strategy that couples these market-based strategies with modest investments in energy efficiency and local renewable energy development.

That strategy will enable the region to meet energy needs, keep prices low, and avoid the massive expenditures on new natural gas pipeline infrastructure now being promoted by the natural gas industry.

Coalition members of Massachusetts Power Forward offered their reactions to the study today:

"Today's report echoes what we’ve been saying for years – we can meet our energy needs without investing in expensive new natural gas pipelines,” said Carol Oldham with Massachusetts Climate Action Network. “Many New England communities have already shielded themselves from winter price spikes by maximizing energy efficiency and investing in local renewable energy. Doing so across the region would be good for the economy and keep energy prices affordable and stable.”

“This study gives us more evidence that expanding natural gas pipelines is an unnecessary, massively expensive risk,” said Claire B.W. Miller, Lead Organizer at Toxics Action Center. “By ramping up energy efficiency and investing in solar and wind in New England states, we can ensure that our energy dollars stay here, we diversify our energy supplies, and we reduce our dependence on imported fuel.”

“It is clear that the Attorney General has taken a lead in consideration of the question of need in relation to the Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline,” said Jed Proujansky, Northfield MA selectman and member of the Municipal Coalition Against the Pipeline. “With the viable alternatives of renewable energy and conservation, there is no excuse for allowing another fossil fuel pipeline to be built.”

“This study confirms that it makes no sense to force New England residents to pay $8 billion to expand shale gas pipelines—in part so the industry can ship its gas to Canada. Instead, we should make the best use of the infrastructure we have and fix our markets to reduce demand during our coldest months,” said Joel Wool with Clean Water Action. “By focusing on energy efficiency investments and local sources of energy like solar and wind rather than new gas pipeline subsidies, we can protect both consumers and the environment.”

 

The study findings are available here

###

 

Massachusetts Power Forward is a coalition of environmental leaders, community development organizations, clean energy businesses, faith groups, neighborhood health and safety advocates and Massachusetts families who believe our state and region can power forward with clean, affordable, reliable energy and a thriving economy.