Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has signed legislation that would expand the state’s natural gas distribution system at the same time as a planned expansion of Algonquin Gas Transmission will increase supply access to New England.

The governor’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) was quickly embraced by the state’s utilities. It also will also increase the number of clean energy projects in Connecticut, Malloy said.

“This strategy builds on our effort to improve energy efficiency, increase the number of clean energy projects and expand opportunities for natural gas service,” Malloy said. “With this legislation in place, we will be able to speed up our efforts and continue to drive down the cost of heat and electricity for families, reduce operating costs and make our businesses more competitive.”

A 10-year plan for expanding access to natural gas for homes and businesses across the state, which was submitted by the state’s natural gas distribution companies last month, is under review by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protect (DEEP) and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (see NGI, June 24). The plan outlines how the utilities will meet the gas expansion goals proposed in the CES and the state’s recently enacted HB 6360 (see NGI, March 18). The utilities offered a “structured approach” to add 280,000 gas heating customers over the next 10 years.

Spectra Energy’s Algonquin pipeline meanwhile is beginning the pre-filing review process at FERC for its proposed Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project, which would deliver to the Northeast critically needed gas from Pennsylvania.

“The AIM project will create additional firm pipeline capacity necessary to deliver 433,000 Dth/d of natural gas to the Northeast market area,” said the company’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) filing. “The project will create additional capacity between a receipt point at Ramapo in Rockland County, NY, and Algonquin citygate delivery points.”

Algonquin plans to construct and operate approximately 26 miles of 36- to 42-inch diameter mainline, 18 miles of 12- to 16-inch diameter lateral pipeline, add 79,780 hp of compression at six existing compressor stations and appurtenant facilities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. The pipeline anticipates filing its formal application with FERC by Feb. 2014, with a target in-service date of Nov. 1, 2016.

Other outcomes of the Connecticut’s CES include DEEP’s release of a request for proposals for long-term energy contracts from solar, wind, biomass and other “Class I” renewable energy projects in the New England region, and the department’s launch an approval process to significantly ramp up the state’s investment in its energy efficiency program.

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