The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in its recent short-term energy outlook report, predicts that in 2017, natural gas will either exceed or equal coal as a source of electricity generation for the second straight year. Last year was the first that natural gas-fired electricity generation exceeded coal-fired generation, with coal generating 30% of U.S. electricity and natural gas responsible for 34%. In 2017, through the first four months, coal has provided 30% of U.S. electricity while natural gas has provided 28%, and the EIA expects that by the end of the year, both coal and natural gas will have each generated about 31% of the electricity in the U.S.
The EIA also recently released statistics that showed Pennsylvania as ranking second in the nation in natural gas production for the fourth straight year. Natural gas is a big part of the PA economy, and locally, a new natural gas pipeline is scheduled to get underway later this year. It will have an estimated economic impact of $85.5 million for Columbia County alone, and $1.6 billion for all of the project’s regions. The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline will expand the Transco gas pipeline system with a new pipe approximately 185 miles long connecting the existing pipeline just north of Columbia County to southeast Pennsylvania, which will allow for more efficient transportation of Marcellus Shale natural gas and should enable even more to be exported.
Williams is also encouraging all workers that come into the area to work on this project to patronize local businesses. More information about the opportunities for local businesses related to this pipeline project will be available at the Chamber’s next Learn at Lunch, sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities, this Tuesday, Aug. 8, at noon at Wesley United Methodist Church. Mike Atchie from Williams will talk about the different types of opportunities for local businesses to cater to the visiting workers and give an overall update on the project at this event. The cost to attend this event is $10 for lunch and those interested can register here.