If you’ve ever flown, you’ve probably noticed the seat belt sign light up long before the plane’s wheels actually touch the ground. The pilots begin their runway approach well before the airport is even in sight. It takes a lot of time and preparation to land a plane because of the huge descent, the other air traffic, and many other important factors.
Similarly, today’s energy projects don’t just “land.” They take years to prepare, and require a coordinated effort though they often encounter a few bumps on their path to approval.
We cannot afford to wait until a crisis has arrived to decide we are ready to build a transmission line, a pipeline, etc. Price volatility, New England’s over-reliance on natural gas to generate our electricity, and a potential shortfall of available power because of the upcoming retirements of several area power plants have all placed increased urgency on solving the region’s energy problems.
Buckle up, return your tray table to an upright and locked position, and take a look:
North Country businessman Dave Atkinson explains in this OpEd why it’s so important for the state to get behind new and diverse energy projects. Such development, he says, will not only improve infrastructure, but also reduce costs for companies and foster economic development in New Hampshire.
Forbes.com staff writer Christopher Helman examines areas of the country that are struggling to meet energy demands despite the plentiful supply of natural gas in the U.S. He specifically cites New England as one region where opposition to new infrastructure development is harmful.
The potential solutions for New England’s predicament are far from easy. Marc Brown, an advocate for utility customers, writes this letter to draw attention to the predicted energy shortfall and pose a challenge to policy makers who will influence what projects get built and how they’re paid for.
One of the ongoing battles in New England’s energy development is happening in Salem, Massachusetts where the developers of a proposed new natural gas plant have been locked up in a legal challenge from an environmental group. As the Salem News reports, the energy from the project is critical to the region and the parties are nearing an agreement.
Faced with the growing reality that New Hampshire has to improve infrastructure in multiple ways, policymakers are also met with the growing concerns of their constituents about such projects. This letter in Foster’s Daily Democrat outlines proposed changes to the state’s permitting process. It’s written by a group of Senators who admit that the state will need to diversify and increase “our energy resources with conventional sources, with clean and renewable energy, and local distributed energy systems.”
The time to act to prevent a worst case scenario is now. In fact, we’re already feeling the effects of an imbalanced energy system. We need to have thoughtful, fair and factual discussions and policy to bring solutions from paper to pavement. The region needs new projects to deliver new sources of reliable, renewable, low-cost energy, as New England’s governors have pointed out. It isn’t just a matter of making sure there’ll be enough power to meet our needs. It’s also about supporting a healthy and stable economy now and in the future.