General Information

What is the Granite Bridge Project?


Granite Bridge is a local natural gas pipeline and storage project, proposed by Liberty Utilities, which would utilize a designated State Energy Infrastructure Corridor to bring additional natural gas supply to the residents and businesses in southern and central New Hampshire. Granite Bridge is needed to supply the growing needs of customers who are seeking a clean, safe and economic alternative to their existing fuel source. The Granite Bridge pipeline would be buried completely within the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s (NHDOT) right-of-way along Route 101 and would link together two existing natural gas pipelines, which are located in Manchester and Exeter. Granite Bridge would also feature a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility, which would be located in the town of Epping. This storage facility would provide customers with increased reliability and reduced exposure to high winter natural gas prices. For a complete project map, please click here. For more information about the LNG storage facility, please click here. For more information about the Granite Bridge pipeline, please click here.




Why is Granite Bridge needed?


New Hampshire’s economy depends on a reliable supply of energy. The state’s existing energy infrastructure has reached capacity, which will hinder growth unless it is expanded. Granite Bridge would provide long-term access to safe, reliable, clean natural gas, which would promote job creation and economic development, while reducing energy costs in New Hampshire. New Hampshire currently has four interstate transmission pipelines that provide natural gas to the residents and businesses in the state. One, the Concord Lateral, enters the state in Pelham and ends in Concord. This pipeline provides natural gas service to the cities and towns in southern and central New Hampshire. The Concord Lateral is at capacity. A second pipeline enters the state in Newington and exits in Plaistow. This pipeline, known as the Portland Natural Gas Pipeline System (PNGTS) / Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline (MNE) Joint Facilities, has available capacity. By linking these two existing pipelines, Granite Bridge would increase supply and improve reliability to cities and towns in southern and central New Hampshire.




Will Granite Bridge be safe?


Yes. The safety of our customers, employees and the public is our highest priority and a core value of Liberty Utilities. Properly constructed and maintained LNG storage facilities and natural gas pipelines have excellent safety track records. Design and construction is strictly regulated and the monitoring of proper maintenance is overseen by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) and the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). LNG has been safely used and transported for over 70 years. LNG is not explosive or flammable in its liquid state. If exposed to the environment, LNG would rapidly warm to its gaseous state and evaporate, leaving no residue on water or soil. The Granite Bridge LNG storage facility would have several layers of safety systems to prevent and contain a release of liquid or vapor. These include a full containment LNG storage tank system, additional impoundment areas, temperature, vapor and fire sensors that automatically activate on-site fire protection and vapor suppression systems, as well as alerting facility personnel of the precise area where the detection originated. In addition, the LNG storage facility would be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and also monitored remotely by our System Control Center, located in Londonderry, NH. We would also work closely with local emergency management personnel on the development of safety procedures for the operation of the facility. We are committed to the safe construction and operation of the Granite Bridge pipeline, which would be thoroughly inspected and tested prior being placed into service. Every weld would be x-rayed to ensure strength and proper bonding and the entire pipeline would be tested to 150% of its Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) to ensure proper construction and safe operation. Liberty Utilities has a long history of safely operating natural gas pipelines and LNG and propane storage facilities. We work diligently to adhere to regulatory standards and we operate our own maintenance and safety systems. In addition to our own emergency response systems, we work with local, state and federal officials to ensure that the First Responder community is property trained and regularly updated with the latest safety information.




What are the benefits of Granite Bridge?


Granite Bridge is the lowest cost option to provide businesses and residents in New Hampshire with continued access to a stable and secure supply of natural gas, which will help create jobs, strengthen our economy and reduce home heating costs. Compared to available alternatives for additional natural gas supply, the entire Granite Bridge project would save customers $856 million, over 20 years. Granite Bridge would also provide local property tax revenues to municipalities along the project route. In addition, completion of Granite Bridge would also allow Liberty Utilities to retire our existing propane storage facilities, which will improve system reliability and reduce propane truck traffic in Tilton, Manchester and Nashua. Additional natural gas supply is needed in New Hampshire to support economic development and continued growth. New Hampshire has seen strong economic growth in recent years, with much of this growth occurring along the I-93 corridor and southeast portions of the state. As businesses look to locate or expand in New Hampshire, and new houses and mixed-use developments are constructed, access to natural gas is critical to keep heating and manufacturing costs low. New natural gas storage would save our customers money. With the Granite Bridge LNG storage facility, Liberty Utilities would purchase natural gas in the summer when prices are low, store the fuel until it is needed in the winter, when the market price of natural gas is higher. As a result, Granite Bridge would reduce the cost of natural gas in New Hampshire and give our customers additional reliability and flexibility of supply. We estimate that the Granite Bridge LNG storage facility would save customers $229 million, over 20 years. Granite Bridge offers increased natural gas availability and fuel choice to towns located along the new pipeline route that are not currently served by another utility. Access to natural gas as a fuel option reduces costs and increases economic development opportunities. For a comparison of natural gas prices to other heating fuel options, please visit the New Hampshire Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI). The OSI monitors heating fuel prices and provides a price comparison based on the cost per British Thermal Unit (BTU). Natural gas provides a cost effective, convenient alternative to other heating fuel options. Granite Bridge would also provide towns along the project route with additional local property tax payments from the new facilities. We estimate that these payments would total $10 million annually, and over $200 million over the life of the project. For a description of property tax benefits by town, please click here. As more customers have taken natural gas supply, Liberty Utilities has become more reliant on our existing LNG and propane storage facilities in New Hampshire. When called upon, these facilities, located in Tilton, Concord, Manchester and Nashua, provide additional natural gas and propane supplies to our customers. These facilities are filled by trucks that deliver the fuel to the storage tanks. While well maintained and safe, the propane facilities are approaching fifty years of age. In addition, as more homes and businesses install higher efficiency heating equipment, our continued reliance on propane, a heavier fuel with a different BTU content, can lead to some incompatibility with high efficiency natural gas equipment used by our customers. The construction of Granite Bridge would enable us to retire these propane facilities, increasing reliability, reducing cost and decreasing propane truck traffic.




What would happen if Granite Bridge is not built?


Granite Bridge is the lowest cost option to provide residents and business in New Hampshire with a needed and reliable supply of natural gas. The other available alternative involves the expansion of the Concord Lateral, the existing interstate pipeline that provides service to customers in southern and central New Hampshire. This expansion option, together with available upstream supply options, would be far more expensive than Granite Bridge, costing customers over $856 million more, over 20 years. Because the Concord Lateral is an interstate pipeline, the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) would have jurisdiction of the siting on the project. Finally, any expansion of the Concord Lateral would not be limited to utilizing a State Energy Infrastructure Corridor, and could involve construction in the towns of Pelham, Windham, Hudson, Nashua, Londonderry, Manchester, Hooksett, Allenstown, Pembroke and Concord..




How long will the project take to complete?


Once permits and regulatory approvals are received, the Granite Bridge pipeline would take 2 years to complete, while the LNG storage facility would be completed 2 to 3 years after receiving approval.




Where will Granite Bridge be located?


The Granite Bridge pipeline would be buried exclusively within the NHDOT right-of-way along Route 101, between Exeter and Manchester, which has been designated as a State Energy Infrastructure Corridor. The Granite Bridge storage facility would be located adjacent to Route 101 on 15 acres, within a 140-acre property in Epping that we would purchase. The two above-ground metering stations, small buildings, roughly the size of small detached garages, where the existing transmission lines would connect with the Granite Bridge pipeline, would be located on property we would purchase adjacent to Route 101 in Manchester, and within the NHDOT right-of-way in Stratham.




Will eminent doman be used for any part of of this project?


No.




What is a "State Energy Infrastructure Corridor"?


State Energy Infrastructure Corridors are sections of highway that the New Hampshire Legislature deemed appropriate for the construction of energy infrastructure projects. There have been several significant energy infrastructure projects proposed in New Hampshire in recent years. In an effort to encourage orderly development of energy infrastructure projects and limit private property impacts, in 2016 the New Hampshire Legislature passed a law designating I-89, parts of I-93, I-95 and sections of N.H. Route 101 as “Energy Infrastructure Corridors.” Granite Bridge would utilize the Energy Infrastructure Corridor along Route 101, between Exeter and Manchester.




What is the permitting approval process?


The approval process for Granite Bridge will involve reviews by the NHPUC and SEC. The NHPUC will review the project economics and need. We estimate this review will take up to one year to complete. We filed with the NHPUC on December 22, 2017. We were assigned Docket No. DG 17-198. The SEC will review the siting of the project. The SEC will determine whether Liberty Utilities has the financial, technical, and managerial capability to construct and operate the facilities. In its review, the SEC must determine that the project will not unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region; and that the project will not have an unreasonable adverse effect on aesthetics, historic sites, air and water quality, the natural environment, and public health and safety. Once we file with the SEC, the review process will take approximately one year to complete. We plan to file for SEC approval in 2018. When filed, we will post a copy of our SEC application on this website.




What is natural gas?


Natural gas is an odorless, naturally occurring fuel primarily composed of methane. Natural gas is lighter than air and has been used by customers to heat their homes and businesses for over 200 years. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, when natural gas is burned, either for heat or to make electricity, it emits approximately 35% less CO2 than heating oil and 20% less CO2 than propane. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 50% of households in the United States use natural gas to heat their homes. In New Hampshire, 20% of households use natural gas for heat, 46% use heating oil and 14% use propane. Granite Bridge would provide the residents and business in New Hampshire an additional option for their heating needs.




Who would pay for Granite Bridge?


Natural gas customers of Liberty Utilities would pay for the project costs. Taxpayers and electric customers would not pay for any portion of Granite Bridge. As a regulated utility, the expenses and capital investments we make to serve our customers are recovered through natural gas rates. The NHPUC reviews all of our spending to ensure that we have made prudent investments to meet our customers’ needs. Before beginning construction on Granite Bridge, we will be seeking approval from the NHPUC. This review process will include a thorough examination of the project’s economics, including the projected need and that this project is the lowest-cost option to meet our customers’ needs.




Where will the natural gas for Granite Bridge come from?


The Granite Bridge pipeline would connect to the PNGTS / Maritimes Joint Facilities pipeline in Exeter. Connecting to this pipeline will allow us to access additional natural gas supplies in Dawn, Ontario and LNG supplies in Saint John, New Brunswick. These supplies, and our existing supplies, would be used to fill the LNG storage facility and serve customers in New Hampshire.




Where will the natural gas supply be used?


This project is designed to serve the residents of New Hampshire. 100% of the natural gas being transported and stored as part of Granite Bridge would be used by residential, commercial and industrial customers in New Hampshire. None of the natural gas transported or stored as part of Granite Bridge would be exported or used anywhere other than New Hampshire.




Would any of the natural gas be exported to another country or be used to serve customers in other states?


No.




Will any communities along Route 101 receive natural gas distribution service from Granite Bridge?


Yes. Liberty Utilities would like to work with any community along the proposed route that does not currently have natural gas distribution service. Providing natural gas service to new communities would involve the construction of additional metering stations. These metering stations would be located either in the NHDOT right-of-way along Route 101 or on property adjacent to the right-of-way, which we would purchase. These metering stations track the natural gas and reduce the pressure to a level for use by our customers. Any new natural gas service areas would be subject to approval by the NHPUC, which reviews and approves all new utility franchises in New Hampshire.




How many jobs will be created from this project?


We estimate that there would be up to 330 construction jobs directly associated with the building the project. We would make every effort to hire local workers in all phases of construction. Granite Bridge would also create an additional 15 permanent, full-time positions to staff the LNG storage facility and build and maintain our distribution system.




How would Granite Bridge increase energy efficiency in New Hampshire?


New customers taking service from Liberty Utilities would be eligible to participate in our award-winning natural gas energy efficiency programs. These programs help reduce heating fuel usage, lower customers’ bills and increase building comfort through weatherization.

For more information about our energy efficiency programs please click here.




About Liberty Utilities


Liberty Utilities is a regulated natural gas, water, and electricity generation, transmission, and distribution utility that provides services to over 783,000 customers in the United States. In New Hampshire, Liberty Utilities serves 43,000 electric customers in 21 communities and 91,000 natural gas customers in 31 communities. Liberty Utilities is owned by Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation (APUC), which is a growing renewable energy and regulated utility company with assets across North America. APUC develops, acquires and operates green and clean energy assets, including hydroelectric, wind, thermal, and solar power facilities in the United States and Canada. Neither Liberty Utilities, nor Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation, are owned by, or affiliated with, any other electric or natural gas transmission companies.




What is Liberty Utilities doing to promote energy efficiency?


We are committed to supporting and promoting efforts to reduce energy usage. Through the NHSaves Program, energy efficiency rebates for high-efficiency heating equipment, weatherization and appliances are available to new or existing natural gas customers. In 2016 we awarded energy efficiency incentives to 5,100 customers, totaling nearly $6 million. These investments will save over 136 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity and over 18 million therms of natural gas over the lifetime of the measures. For the 5th straight year the EPA recognized Liberty Utilities and our NH CORE Utilities partners with the 2017 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year - Sustained Excellence Award. New customers taking service from Liberty Utilities would be eligible to participate in these energy efficiency programs, which will help reduce heating fuel usage, lower customers’ bills and increase building comfort through weatherization.




How much will Granite Bridge cost?


Liberty Utilities customers will pay for the project over time through their natural gas rates. We estimate that this would increase an average residential customer’s natural gas heating bill by approximately $2.00 per month, under normal weather conditions.

If Granite Bridge LNG storage facility had been in service over the last 5 winters, customers would have saved $122 million on fuel costs. These savings come from the ability to purchase natural gas in the summer, when prices are low and then use the low-cost natural gas when prices are higher in the winter.

Compared to available alternatives Granite Bridge would save customers in New Hampshire over approximately $856 million, over 20 years.

In addition to being the lowest cost option available, Granite Bridge offers increased reliability and flexibility for customers in New Hampshire. The NHPUC will review these alternatives and the project’s economics as part of the approval process.




What is Liberty Utilities doing to reduce emissions on its distribution system?


We are committed to reducing emissions and continuously improving our distribution systems. Liberty Utilities is a voluntary participant in the EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program. Through this program we have pledged to report and reduce any methane emissions on our natural gas distribution systems throughout the United States. By aggressively repairing and replacing older infrastructure with new modern facilities, we are reducing emissions and increasing system reliability. In 2016, in New Hampshire, we completed 31 separate projects, resulting in over 13 miles of older natural gas mains being replaced. In 2017, we completed 38 projects in New Hampshire, totaling an additional 14 miles of natural gas main replacement. For 2018 we plan to complete 32 additional projects, which would replace another 14 miles of older pipe. We strive to continuously monitor and improve our distribution system. Throughout the United States, infrastructure improvements being made by natural gas companies are reducing emissions. According to the EPA, emissions from natural gas infrastructure has decreased by 16% since 1990.





 
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