STAFF CONTACT :
May 14, 2019
Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo:
The Business Council of New York State believes the economic vitality of our community is at risk if the Northeast Supply Enhancement project (NESE) is not approved and built. The bottom line is that without approval of this project, we will be facing a situation where we do not have access to natural gas supplies to support the growing needs of our community. This is not acceptable.
We are in a period of great energy transition, and never before have we seen such exciting technological breakthroughs allowing us to enjoy affordable and cleaner ways to power our lives and heat our homes and institutions.
The Business Council knows that natural gas plays a critical role in providing our community with large-scale reliable heating solutions that are affordable, resilient and support economic growth. In addition, access to natural gas results in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the Northeast.
Each year in New York City and on Long Island, National Grid has been adding about 8,000 residential and commercial customers who shift from oil heating to natural gas – each replacing 900,000 barrels of oil, and reducing CO2 emissions by 200,000 tons. This is the equivalent to pulling 500,000 cars off the road for one year, and reducing other local emissions by 300 tons per year, including smog, acid rain, and particulates that have negative health and environmental effects.
However, at the current rate of growth in New York City and Long Island, from new construction and continued oil-to-gas conversions, National Grid does not have enough natural gas supply or an alternative and affordable large-scale clean heat alternative to keep up with demand.
To support their continued growth, National Grid entered into an agreement with Transco to construct the NESE Project, which will provide 100% of its capacity – 400,000 dekatherms/day – to the gas distribution system in downstate New York. This additional 14% of natural gas supply is needed to support the exceptional growth in New York City and on Long Island.
The plain fact of the matter is, without NESE, National Grid will not be able to supply natural gas to new commercial, industrial, and residential customers to heat their homes or run their businesses thus putting the region’s economic growth at risk, as well as impeding State and City carbon emission goals.
Without NESE, National Grid will be left with no choice but to officially declare a full-scale moratorium to all new applicants in New York City and Long Island who request natural gas as their heating solution of choice.
A moratorium will deprive many New Yorkers of access to a clean and affordable fuel. A 2018 study by Columbia University on New York City’s high energy cost burden found that “in New York City, low-income households experience a disproportionately high energy cost burden,” specifically that low-income households spent more than 9.99% of the household’s annual income on energy costs, which is 6.48% more than the median energy cost burden in the City.
There are many steps that need to be taken to address the needs of those with high energy cost burdens, but one simple step will be to allow for the continued transition to affordable natural gas. Since energy costs are the highest uncontrollable expense for many households, directly reducing these costs allows residents to spend more on other critical needs such as food, transportation, and childcare.
In conclusion, approval of the project will benefit the State’s economy, and provide critically needed access to natural gas, employment opportunities, and advance New York State’s and New York City’s energy and environmental goals. For these reasons, and more, The Business Council of New York State, Inc., urges you to support this project.