The lack of natural gas pipelines in the Northeast U.S. is producing some of the highest electric rates in the country in that region, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.
And the problem will only get worse, the institute said Monday in releasing a new report.
The lack of additional pipeline infrastructure will cost more than 78,000 jobs and curtail the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by $7.6 billion by 2020 in New England, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, Kallanish Energy learns.
“Environmental groups seeking to ‘keep it in the ground’ are fighting to block virtually every project that would bring additional natural gas into the Northeast,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Energy Institute, in a statement.
“As a result, residents in the Northeast are paying the highest electricity rates in the continental U.S. with no relief in sight if infrastructure is not built. High energy prices are costing the region jobs and income, so maintaining the status quo will be painful,” she said.
According to the Energy Information Administration, Connecticut has the third-highest electric rates in the nation. Massachusetts is fourth, Rhode Island is fifth, New Hampshire is sixth, New York is eighth, Vermont in ninth, New Jersey is 10th and Maine is 11th.
The lack of pipelines is also hurting Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia because drillers in the Marcellus and Utica shales cannot move their natural gas to high-paying markets in the Northeast, and those states will lose jobs and revenue, the institute said.
Continued legal challenges and political opposition have stalled or slowed projects, including the Constitution Pipeline and the Access Northeast pipeline, it said.
“As the regulatory and price environment continues to encourage the use of natural gas, Northeast states will find themselves increasingly starved of the energy needed to power the economy and keep the lights on,” Harbert said. “Our analysis demonstrates that there is simply not enough capacity to meet demand and families, consumers and businesses will all pay the price.”
The report’s economic impact analysis estimates the potential impacts over the next four years and includes all recently announced pipeline projects.
The report is available at www.energyxxi.org/energy-accountability.