FERC issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing Williams’ Gateway Expansion Project in New Jersey, but the Commission was divided over the issue of whether it should have considered the project’s contribution to climate change.

The project calls for expanding the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. (Transco) system, providing an additional 65,000 Dth/d of firm transportation service to PSEG Power LLC and UGI Energy Services LLC to serve their incremental supply needs in New Jersey and New York beginning with the 2020-2021 winter heating season. Transco filed for authorization of the project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in November 2017 [CP18-18].

“Natural gas is a critical, low-cost component of the mix of energy sources necessary to meet the region’s growing energy needs and to help meet its aggressive clean air goals,” said Williams COO Micheal Dunn. “Energy infrastructure upgrades like our Gateway Expansion project will help ensure consumers continue to benefit from clean, reliable and affordable energy.”

Williams said it expects to begin construction of the project in the spring of 2019, following the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals. The company plans to enter the project into service on Nov. 1, 2020.

Williams was ordered to satisfy 16 environmental conditions for the project.

FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee voted in favor of the project, as did Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur in a separate opinion. But Commissioner Richard Glick dissented, arguing that FERC should have considered the project’s contribution to climate change from greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Commission’s refusal to evaluate and consider the project’s harm from its contribution to climate change falls well short of our obligations under the Natural Gas Act and the National Environmental Policy Act,” Glick wrote.

LaFleur said she shared many of Glick’s concerns, but agreed with Chatterjee that the project was within the public interest. “The Commission must do its best to take climate change impacts into account in our proceedings,” she wrote. “I appreciate that there is work to do to address this issue, but I believe it is work that must be done.”

The expansion would provide 54,000 Dth/d from Transco’s existing Station 210 pooling point and from PennEast Pipeline’s proposed interconnection with Transco, both in Mercer County, NJ, to an existing interconnection with PSEG at the Ridgefield meter and regulating (M&R) station in Bergen County, NJ. Another 11,000 Dth/d would be provided from receipt points to an existing interconnection with PSEG at the Paterson M&R station in Passaic County, NJ.

The project would also include the addition of 27,500 hp at Transco’s existing compressor station 303 in Essex County, NJ, and other associated modifications in the area. No additional pipeline or pipeline looping is required, according to Transco’s application.