Con Edison announced it has reached an agreement with the owners of an existing natural gas pipeline, Tennessee Gas Pipeline, which would send more gas to Westchester County. If approvals of the new deal go according to plan, the existing gas moratorium could end in November 2023, according to Con Edison.
Con Edison stopped accepting new natural gas applications in southern Westchester as of March 16, citing the lack of sufficient natural gas capacity. The new agreement does not halt the existing moratorium.
Under the new agreement, Tennessee Gas Pipeline, which has been sending natural gas to Con Edison’s distribution system in Westchester, would increase its capacity by upgrading compression facilities on its system outside of New York state, reported The Journal News.
In March, The Business Council of Westchester formed the BCW Gas Moratorium Task Force, a cross-section of developers, business leaders of small, mid-sized and large companies, as well as planners and affordable housing advocates to propose solutions.
BCW Executive Vice President John Ravitz said Con Edison’s announcement on Wednesday “offered a ray of hope for our increasingly energy-starved region,” however there is still a long way to go before the agreement goes into effect in late 2023.
“That’s four and a half years, if the approval goes smoothly, and at least four and a half years more of the moratorium on new gas hookups in most of Westchester,” he said. “We applaud Con Edison for this initiative and other actions the company is exploring to alleviate the crisis. However, the underlying energy shortage remains a serious issue that is already taking a toll and will continue to loom over the region and threaten our economic viability.”
New York State and others, meanwhile, are calling for a shift to renewable energy sources, including Con Edison’s $223 million “Smart Solutions” initiative that was announced following the state regulatory agency’s direction.
“While this is a laudable goal, the realities are that implementation of virtually any of the technologies now being discussed are not going to be sufficient to meet the region’s energy demand,” Ravitz said.
On May 10th the BCW has scheduled a major conference – Running on Empty? Transitioning to a New Energy Landscape – bringing together private, government and public sector leaders in the forefront of the energy spectrum. The session will delve into the growing natural gas shortage and other issues tied to providing energy now and into the future. The forum will be from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains.