natural gas

Stephen Depolo / Creative Commons License via Flickr

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is opposing National Grid’s proposal to build a natural gas liquefaction facility at Field’s Point in Providence.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling against a request by utilities to charge electricity users for expanding natural gas pipelines is already affecting a similar request in Rhode Island.

The Conservation Law Foundation filed a motion at the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission to dismiss National Grid’s proposal to secure gas contracts and recover costs for its Access Northeast Project.

Eight climate activists who were arrested for trespassing at the Spectra Energy facility in Burrillville have been released. They’re facing charges of criminal trespass.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Burrillville has become the unlikely epicenter for controversy over natural gas. The town is home to a natural gas-fired power plant, two pipelines, and two compressor stations to push gas through the pipelines.

Federal officials are collecting public comments this week about National Grid’s proposal to build a liquefied natural gas facility in Providence. Residents can sign up to speak at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s public hearing beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 8 at Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex.

Charges will mostly likely be dismissed for two climate activists, who were arrested earlier this month in Burrillville. They chained themselves to the front gate of a Spectra Energy facility to protest plans for an expansion.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.  

Our guest this week is Rhode Island Energy Commissioner Marion Gold. She discusses a controversial plan to open a natural gas plant in northern Rhode Island, and what the future may hold for renewable energy and energy prices.

National Grid has filed an application (PDF) with the federal government to add facilities to its existing liquefied natural gas storage property in Providence.

RIPR File Photo

Gov. Gina Raimondo will meet with other New England governors in Hartford, Conn., tomorrow to discuss the region’s energy problems.

At a private roundtable, New England governors plan to explore solutions to a number of challenges: the rising prices of electricity, limited pipeline capacity, and the aging electricity grid.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Public Utilities Commission approved a 14 percent rate increase in National Grid electricity rates. The vote was met with anger by residents who attended this  morning's public hearing.

Angry residents repeatedly asked the PUC not to approve the electricity rate hike. Warren resident Joyce Katzberg said she wants publicly-owned utilities that aren’t beholden to corporate interests.

“And for those utilities to be brought to us through clean, safe, and renewable sources, not fracking, not mountaintop removal, and not nuclear power plants,” said Katzberg.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

In a packed hearing room, the state’s Public Utilities Commission listened to testimony for much of the day on National Grid’s proposed 24 percent rate hike.

The increase would kick in January 1st, how long it will last is another matter. The PUC heard testimony both for and against stretching a lower rate out over twelve months as opposed to the requested six months.

National Grid is asking the state’s public utilities commission to clear the way for a nearly 24 percent rate hike. The utility estimates that will add nearly $21 to the average residential customer bill.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and other leaders have gathered at Slater Mill in Pawtucket this afternoon for a ceremonial signing of the Affordable Clean Energy Security Act, an energy bill the governor signed into law earlier this summer.

The act gives Rhode Island an opportunity to work with other New England states to address volatile electricity prices. Last winter, the New England region spent $5 billion in energy costs, nearly as much as the region spent for the entire 2012 calendar year.

New Englanders spent $5 billion in electricity last winter, compared to $5.2 billion for all of 2012. That's why each of the New England states has introduced legislation in their respective states to address the problem of rising electricity prices. But environmental advocacy groups are worried this regional collaboration would promote unnecessary natural gas projects.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has joined the rest of New England’s governors signing an accord to create a regional power plan.

New England’s six governors say if their states work together, they can share the cost of building natural gas pipelines and power transmission lines delivering Canadian hydro-power, and that will lower energy costs.  Chafee warns it will take a long-term investment to bring down power bills.