Gateway Expansion (Roseland)
(FERC Docket Number CP18-18)
Roseland Against Compressor Station is leading a grassroots opposition to this project, www.facebook. com/RoselandAgainstCompressorStation/
Williams Transco’s proposed Gateway Expansion Project would co-locate a new, 33,000 horsepower compressor station immediately adjacent to an existing 27,500 horsepower compressor station, both of which would be located right next to high tension interstate electric transmission lines and next to PSE&G’s switching station, all within a flood plain and immediately next to the Passaic River.
This proposal creates both known and unknown compounding risks for the nearby residents, businesses, schools and critical infrastructure for the Borough of Roseland, as well as East Hanover and other towns. The risk will be heightened when hurricane and tropical storm sized storms hit this area, as they almost certainly will in coming years. If permitted and built, the Gateway Expansion Project would significantly increase the amount of compressed natural gas flowing through Roseland Borough. It would increase the amount of toxic pollution released through leakage and deliberate gas blowdowns into the surrounding areas.
Williams Transco has a poor track record when it comes to safety issues. Both state and federal agencies have fined the company at numerous times going back many years for problematic operations of natural gas plants and pipelines. Over the past four years there have been at least five workers killed and 120 people injured by accidents at Williams natural gas facilities. In the town of Roseland, in 2013, an unannounced blowdown of gas during construction of the gas compressor station led to the panicked evacuation of the Noecker elementary school less than one mile away.
Williams has stated that the Gateway Expansion Project has been designed to provide up to 65,000 dekatherms per day (65 MMcfd) of natural gas transportation service to PSE&G and UGI Energy Services. It cites the general growth of gas usage in the Northeast but provides no specific information on demand. It has also not explained the need for an additional 33,000 horsepower compressor. The amount of gas Williams says would be sent through this compressor is less than 5% of the total flow-through capacity of the existing compressor built in 2013.
In 2015-2016 Williams/Transco received FERC approval and subsequently added 2,500 horsepower to the original 25,000 hp compressor built in 2013. Williams said they needed it to send an additional 115,000 dekatherms of gas through their system. In the Gateway Expansion Project, they are saying they want to send an additional 65,000 dekatherms through their system which is 56.5% of the 115,000 dekatherms added in 2016 and they claim they need 33,000 hp, which is 1300% of the 2,500 hp added in 2016, to do so. This does not appear to make sense and again, implies plans, which it will not divulge.
While the future capacity that could be driven by 33,000 hp is 1.5M dt/d (as opposed to 65,000) the GHG emissions calculations in this report used the 65,000 volume to be conservative.
Williams has also said that the existing compressor is used only in times of very high, peak demand, such as very cold spells. Williams appears to be using a segmentation strategy to build new gas infrastructure in New Jersey that it recognizes will be very unpopular such as support for the proposed Meadowlands power plant (see below) or infrastructure to support exporting gas. There is no evidence that this project is needed to provide service to residents of New Jersey.
Current Status: Governor Murphy’s NJDEP approved the project’s final “fresh-water wetlands” permit on December 27, 2018.
The FERC Environmental Assessment (docket no. CP18- 18-000) shows total annual GHG CO2e emissions of 862 tons per year. This is very low compared to other compressors because these are electric-driven and do not burn methane for power. Emissions are mainly from blowdowns and methane leaks. The EA does not have separate measures of CO2 or methane.
While this project is a compressor station, the additional gas (65 MMcfd) that will be transported by pipelines will either be burned or leak into the atmosphere. Therefore, it is appropriate to compute the GHG emissions of this additional gas associated with these compressors.
Based on the assumptions described in Appendix I of our report, the estimated GHG emissions would be:
- Emissions from the combustion of the gas the compressor/pipeline would carry = 1.28 MMt (million metric tons) CO2
- Total emissions from methane leaked across the gas supply chain (extraction to consumption) (Pennsylvania and New Jersey) = 0.92 MMt CO2e
- Emissions from methane leaked during transportation and consumption in New Jersey = 0.16 MMt CO2e
- Total emissions from compressor/pipeline in New Jersey = 1.43 MMt CO2e