Liberty Utilities proposes $340m underground natural gas pipeline, storage facilityBy MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader
December 04. 2017 11:43PM
Liberty Utilities announced Monday it wants to spend $340 million to build a 27-mile, underground natural gas pipeline along Route 101 and construct a liquefied natural gas storage facility in Epping.
The pipeline, from Manchester to Stratham, would be built in a state-designated energy infrastructure corridor with the storage facility built in an abandoned quarry, south of Route 101 and west of Route 125, said spokesman John Shore.
The proposed Granite Bridge project would only serve customers in New Hampshire, Shore said.
“The storage facility is going to allow us to purchase gas at low prices, like in the summer when prices are low, and be able to store it, and in the winter when prices are high, we’ll be able to draw from that facility.” Shore said.
Liberty has about 91,000 New Hampshire customers, who would pay for the project, he said.
“Any infrastructure investments we made we would put that in the rates over a certain amount of years,” Shore said.
The project wouldn’t go into service for another four to five years should it secure the necessary state approvals.
Will Abbott from the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests said he liked the idea of using the designated energy corridor.
“I think that’s an encouraging indication to all energy companies that using these statutorily designated energy corridors is preferable to using secondary roads and municipal roads as Northern Pass is proposing,” Abbott said.
The proposed $1.6 billion Northern Pass project, which runs through more than 30 communities, needs a handful of state and federal approvals before it can start operating by late 2020. The route runs from Pittsburg to Deerfield and includes 60 miles of buried lines. The route would cross or go under dozens of local roads.
The proposed natural gas pipeline would connect existing Portland Natural Gas Transmission System and Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline facilities in Stratham with the existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline facilities in Manchester.
“There won’t be any eminent domain, very little impact to private property,” Shore said. “So based on that, it’s hard to tell what type of opposition we’ll get. We feel the siting of the project is real good.”
The 16-inch pipeline would be buried completely with a state Department of Transportation right-of-way along Route 101, “mitigating environmental and private and municipal property impacts,” according to the announcement.
Shore said he expects Liberty to file plans with the state Public Utilities Commission within the next few weeks and await approval in roughly a year. Then, it will go before the state Site Evaluation Committee, which might take another year, he said.
Construction will take an estimated two to three years.
The storage facility would be built partly below ground in the abandoned quarry on a 140-acre parcel, Shore said.
“I think you will be able to see it from certain places,” Shore sad. “A lot of it will be below grade.”