Posted September 3, 2016
The key energy issue in Massachusetts, like a number of other New England states, is infrastructure. Massachusetts doesn’t produce natural gas and oil itself, so the state must bring these fuels in from elsewhere to heat homes and generate electricity for residences and businesses.
Click on the thumbnail to open a two-page energy infographic for the Bay State.
Massachusetts used more natural gas than any other energy source in 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In 2015, natural gas was the state’s leading fuel for electricity generation (64 percent). As Massachusetts and other states look to increase power generation from renewable sources, new research is showing the essential, complimentary relationship between natural gas and renewables such as wind and solar.
This is the context for a running public debate over building additional pipeline infrastructure to serve Massachusetts and the rest of New England. Inadequate infrastructure is the chief reason the region has paid higher more for energy than the rest of the country. EIA figures show Massachusetts residents and businesses paid 50 percent more for electricity than the U.S. average during the first quarter of 2016. In January, state residents paid about 36 percent more for natural gas than the national average. It need not remain that way. Massachusetts Petroleum Council Executive Director Steve Dodge:
“Natural gas is providing reliable and affordable power to residential, commercial and industrial customers throughout New England. … But without new pipeline infrastructure, New England consumers and businesses will be at a disadvantage – hurting our economy and making it hard to keep good paying jobs in our region. Failing to expand the region’s energy infrastructure could cost families and businesses $5.4 billion in energy costs in the next four years alone.”
The Consumer Energy Alliance’s Michael Whatley:
“The simple truth is Massachusetts’ energy consumers – families, small businesses, and manufacturers – cannot continue to pay among the highest energy costs in this country. Consumers want our elected leaders in Boston to develop a responsible, balanced energy policy by promoting diversity in energy resources that are clean, reliable, and affordable.”
Our energy renaissance has made the U.S. the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas – boosting the economy and making our country more energy secure while simultaneously leading the world in reducing emissions. To sustain and grow the domestic energy revolution we need policies that support safe development. See the chart on Page 2 of the infographic showing the benefits of a pro-development approach, as well as the potential negative impacts of policies characterized by regulatory constraints.
Energy is essential for virtually every aspect of our daily lives. It powers national, state and local economies, gets us to work and goes into products we rely on for health and comfort. Safe, responsible energy development here at home is linked to national security as well as Americans’ individual prosperity and liberty – in Massachusetts and all the 50 states of energy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joins API after spending 16 years as national editorial writer in the Washington Bureau of The Oklahoman newspaper. In all, he has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, including six years as sports editor at The Washington Times. He lives in Occoquan, Virginia, with his wife Pamela. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and earned a masters in journalism and public affairs at American University. He's currently working on a masters in history at George Mason University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.