Patrick administration says state needs gas capacity

Draft report forecasts shortfall

A new study commissioned by the Patrick administration has tentatively concluded that Massachusetts and all of New England need to expand the supply of natural gas coming into the region to meet demand.

The preliminary report analyzed the demand for gas under eight different scenarios and concluded the state would face a shortfall of between 600 million to 1.1 billion cubic feet of gas on a winter day when demand for the fuel is at its peak. By 2030, the report estimates the deficit at between 1.2 billion and 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day. The low-range forecast assumes imports of Canadian hydro-electricity and the construction of Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound.

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Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Mary-Leah Assad, a spokesperson for the Patrick administration, issued a statement saying the study indicates the state will need more natural gas, large hydro, wind, and energy efficiency to meet demand in the future. “The draft study shows that – in light of power plant retirements – the Commonwealth will need natural gas to meet demand in the coming years. The Commonwealth continues to be engaged in discussions with the other New England states about our regional energy infrastructure needs and this information will help to inform those conversations going forward,” the statement said.

A group calling itself the Coalition to Lower Energy Costs, which favors expanding natural gas pipelines coming into the region, said the findings were significant because the motivation behind doing the report was to find out whether there was any way to avoid building new natural gas pipeline capacity.

“Gas opponents who met with Gov. Patrick assumed that such a study would show no need for new pipeline capacity, but even though it relied on dubious assumptions that biased the analysis against gas, it clearly established that Massachusetts needs to significantly increase gas pipeline capacity,” said Tony Buxton, a spokesman for the group, in a statement.