Earlier today, Columbia Gas of Ohio filed an application to construct the Marysville Connector pipeline project with the Ohio Power Siting Board (see link to application here). This 4.7 mile long project will be constructed using 12-inch, coated steel pipe with a wall thickness of 0.375 inches and a maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) of 190 pounds per square inch gauge.
The application may be approved in as little as 90 days, however, construction for the project would not begin until February 2022 with a targeted in-service date of late 2022. The long delay between approval and in-service appears to be due to the fact that the pipeline is contingent upon completion of a larger project in Delaware and Franklin Counties. This Northern Loop project, which is in the planning phase now, is expected to be routed through southern Delaware and Union Counties to northwest Franklin County where it will connect to the existing Columbia Gas system. This part of the project is not expected to receive approval until 2021, with construction beginning in 2022, and without it there will be no gas source to supply the Marysville Connector.
For several months, OGAP has been seeking information from Columbia Gas to determine if the proposed Northern Loop/Marysville Connector project provides a comprehensive, regional, long-term solution to our energy needs or is simply a short-term fix. While we have requested additional information on several occasions, Columbia Gas has not provided the information necessary for us to conduct an analysis of the proposed project. So while we appreciate that they finally recognize the region’s need for new gas supplies, we are not yet confident this project offers a comprehensive, regional, long-term solution.
Today’s filing by Columbia provides only some of the details we have been seeking. Our plan is to file as an intervenor with the Ohio Power Siting Board as the process should help identify information necessary to conduct a thorough analysis on behalf of our residents and local businesses. Finally, it’s important to note the filing does not obligate Columbia Gas to build the pipeline as described; they may modify or even cancel the project in the future.
OGAP looks forward to working with all parties to develop a cost-effective, regional solution to deliver sufficient energy today and in the decades to come.
OGAP Board recently approved a recommendation to hire Columbus-based Utility
Technologies International Corporation (UTI). For more than 25 years, UTI has
been a respected leader in the natural gas industry in Ohio. Specializing in
pipeline management and design, UTI has the in-house capabilities to work
through every aspect of a natural gas problem. Their services range from design
and engineering to specialty construction techniques, operations, and integrity
management. The partnership between OGAP and UTI will help ensure that the coalition
has the technical expertise from industry leaders working to ensure the region
has access to the long-term energy it needs to sustain growth.
OGAP has been asked to speak at an upcoming gas-industry forum in Columbus regarding gaps in access to natural gas: we will highlight how our organization is leveraging the partnership of business and community leaders to help solve the challenges facing Union, Madison and Logan counties. Look for more details in our next issue.
Fast Facts: Natural Gas in Ohio
In Ohio, we are fortunate to have an abundance of natural gas produced right here in the Buckeye State. Access to natural gas is a vital asset for our communities and is a known driver of business retention and expansion while attracting additional economic development.
Did you know?
Ohio is among the top 10 natural gas-consuming states in the country. Natural gas use at Ohio’s power plants has increased significantly in the past decade and was more than 13 times greater in 2018 than in 2008.
Nearly 7 out of 10 households use natural gas for home heating in Ohio.
Some of Ohio’s natural gas is placed in underground storage.
The state has 24 natural gas storage fields with a combined total storage capacity of almost 576 billion cubic feet, which is about 6% of the nation’s total.
Ohio is the eighth-largest state in natural gas storage capacity.
MORPC Partnering with OGAP to Ensure Energy for Smart Growth
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) designated the Natural Gas Capacity Expansion Project in Union, Madison and area counties a critical Competitive Advantage Project.
The Competitive Advantage Project initiative is a partnership of MORPC and Columbus 2020, to identify and advance priority infrastructure projects across the region. MORPC is now partnering with Ohio Gas Access Partnership (OGAP) to help ensure natural gas supplies can meet long term growth in Marysville, London, West Jefferson, Plain City, and the entire U.S. 33 Smart Mobility Corridor. MORPC estimates a long term solution is required to meet the current and future natural gas needs of Union, Madison and surrounding counties facilitating the creation of 10,000 new jobs, while helping to retain another 28,000. MORPC identified Competitive Advantage Projects are strategic investment initiatives that will create substantial long term economic advantages in the region and position Central Ohio above its economically competitive peers. MORPC works with local and regional leaders to develop a key project list in its effort to advance the most important infrastructure investments needed across the greater Columbus region. As a Competitive Advantage Project, MORPC specifically advocates for these projects to Ohio’s congressional delegation as well as to state, regional and local government policy makers and regulators.
The gas experiment project benefits include:
Maintains competitive infrastructure by extending natural gas into underserved areas
Serves existing and future commercial and industrial employers
Facilitates creation of shovel-ready sites with utility and transportation infrastructure
Supports key manufacturers across the multi-county region
Aligns with existing planning documents
Access to Natural Gas is a Workforce Issue
Existing Central Ohio companies continue growing, new companies are announcing they are locating in the region and local economic developers are seeing sustained demand well into the future. Cities, villages and townships across Union and Madison Counties are feeling the pressure as employers demand more workers and those workers require places to live. Some companies blame the lack of appropriate housing as a significant reason for why they can’t attract more workers. A healthy housing market provides diverse housing options for people across a wide swath of socioeconomic levels. Most employers prefer employees to have the choice to live near their place of work, since proximity to work increases reliability and productivity. Employees also prefer living near their job because it allows for greater flexibility and often saves time and money on fuel.
From 2010 to 2017, the Columbus MSA averaged 7,077 building permits per year. Based on job growth projections, the Columbus MSA will average 14,300 to 21,227 new jobs every year through year 2050.
In order to support smart growth across central Ohio, residential and industrial developers need public utilities like water and sewer, as well as, electricity and natural gas. The challenge facing many communities is a lack of long-term natural gas supplies. Natural gas plays a key role in fueling smart growth!
The Ohio Gas Access Partnership, or OGAP, is a coalition of businesses and community stakeholders that are working together to find solutions for our region’s energy needs. OGAP currently includes members from Franklin, Union, Madison, and Logan Counties and our footprint is continuing to grow. This region is one of the fastest growing areas in the state. Our members are committed to making sure that communities in Central Ohio are equipped to benefit from this projected growth by ensuring that we have critical access to affordable energy solutions.
We want our region to continue to be a great place to raise a family and operate a business. Access to energy, including natural gas, is essential to our current residents and businesses, as well as residents and businesses looking to move here in the future. A recent study1 showed that natural gas capacity limitations may have a large impact on future growth opportunities in the region. In fact, in Union County, natural gas capacity may be fully utilized within 5 years at the current growth rate and uncertain gas supply in Madison County continues to limit growth opportunities for some businesses.
A Collaborative Solution
The good news is that Ohio has an abundant supply of natural gas and access to a network of more than 11 major transmission pipelines and many smaller pipelines that operate every day to provide energy to homes and businesses. Our coalition’s goal is to work collaboratively throughout the region to identify strategies and work with residential and industry partners to help our communities gain access to these abundant energy resources.
Energy is essential for smart growth. We are poised to work together to find a solution that supports balanced and sustainable industrial, commercial and residential development throughout the region.