NY rejects National Grid’s fracked gas vaporizers in Greenpoint

March 16, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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GREENPOINT — The New York State Public Service Commission issued a statement Thursday saying that Natural Grid’s gas vaporizers planned in Greenpoint are no longer necessary to meet peak demand.

As a result, the commission denied the company’s petition seeking cost recovery for the project.

The project initially began as a means of increasing the capacity of the North Brooklyn Pipeline. Original projections for the cost of the gas vaporizers was a steep $185 million of ratepayer dollars, according to Brooklyn Eagle reporting in March of 2021.

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Liquid natural gas vaporizers are a form of heat exchanger that turns the liquified petrol back into gas form, for when peak demand increases during the winter months. At one point, National Grid had pursued an exemption to city fire regulations that would have allowed them to “truck” in natural gas during weather-related periods of demand or in “emergency” situations, according to an article published by Sane Energy Project in the Eagle in April of 2022.

“The detailed and thorough analysis provided by Department staff and an independent, third-party advisor clearly demonstrated that the utility’s updated forecast of peak demand, which showed a reduction in projected peak demand, means that the project is not needed at this time,” said Commission Chair Rory M. Christian.

“While the project has certain reliability benefits, now is not the time to build it. Instead, now is the time for National Grid to redouble its efforts at energy efficiency and other demand-side management programs to further delay or entirely avoid the need for the project.”

The commission’s decision today comes after the commission held four public statement hearings and heard from hundreds of residents about the project. Together, the commission received written or oral public comments from more than 1,200 individuals or groups.

National Grid. Photo: Bebeto Matthews/AP

Although the project to install two additional vaporizers at the Greenpoint Liquified Natural Gas facility is not needed, the commission did find that the utility, The Brooklyn Union Gas Company, a subsidiary of National Grid, could recover the $10.5 million in design, engineering, permitting, and the costs of the independent consulting company, but not the remaining $38.8 million in other costs incurred to date.

In its decision, the commission agreed with an independent expert assessment that the project is not needed for at least the next five years, perhaps longer depending on demand for natural gas in the area.

For over 50 years, the facility has provided gas service to customers in the community. Specifically, the vaporizers at the liquified natural gas facility are used during periods of peak demand, when the weather is coldest, to meet customers’ heating needs. The company said the new vaporizers would have allowed the facility to deliver its current annual capacity at a faster rate to meet demand, with redundancy in the event of an emergency. The Greenpoint facility liquifies and stores natural gas during low demand periods in the summer for later use in periods of peak demand during the winter.

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