Regional Development Group Adopts Resolution in Support of Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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Utility demands are almost always a top tier consideration for expanding or relocating industry. The availability of natural gas is one utility that can quickly eliminate or vault a community into a site location consideration. A wide array of industries rely on natural gas: food processing, bio-pharmaceuticals and chemicals manufacturing as well as glass and ceramics.

Utility demands are almost always a top tier consideration for expanding or relocating industry. The availability of natural gas is one utility that can quickly eliminate or vault a community into a site location consideration. A wide array of industries rely on natural gas: food processing, bio-pharmaceuticals and chemicals manufacturing as well as glass and ceramics.

A new partnership among several utility providers could pave the way for communities in eastern NC to benefit from an increased supply of natural gas. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is a joint venture among Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and AGL Resources. The proposed line would originate in West Virginia and span 550 miles through Virginia and into eastern NC.

As a relatively clean, low-cost energy source, a domestic natural gas supply decreases the nation’s dependence on foreign imports and significantly lowers emissions compared to coal. Electric utility providers have converted coal-fired generation plant to natural gas and the ACP would help local gas utilities serve their customers with a reliable source of natural gas with improved pressures

The NCEast Alliance board of directors unanimously adopted a resolution in support of the ACP on Thursday, March 12th. The pipeline would deliver a new supply of natural gas to eastern NC, areas which have historically lacked the necessary supply to lure companies requiring this natural resource.

“During my 38 years in economic development in this region, I’ve experienced the frustration of losing an industrial client because the quantity of natural gas required could not be met with sufficient pressure year-round to satisfy the company requirement,” stated John D. Chaffee, President & CEO of the Alliance. “While we’ve experienced some improvements over the years, the ACP will still improve our position in the recruitment of new industries to the east,” Chaffee continued.

Communities like Jackson and many others in eastern NC would benefit greatly from the ACP, which could supply 1.5 billion cubic feet per day with potential for expansion.

“We’re convinced the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will significantly strengthen the energy infrastructure in the region.  That applies across the board, sustaining existing development — residential, commercial and industrial — and providing new energy resources for future development,” said Gary Brown, Local Economic Development Director for Northampton County. “Dominion and other project partners have committed to utilizing best management and operations practices and employing advanced technologies in both the construction and operation of the pipeline.  That’s important, impressive and well-received, particularly in rural communities with a long tradition of environmentally responsible development and stewardship of our natural resources,” added Brown.

Construction for the project is slated to begin in 2016 and the pipeline would begin servicing eastern NC in late 2018. Three compressor stations are planned, one of which would be in Northampton County.

A recent economic impact analysis found the ACP could generate $680 million in economic activity in NC from 2014-2019. Current estimates project that property taxes paid to counties and municipalities by the ACP would exceed $25 million per year. Payments to rural Northampton County, alone, would be around $2 million per year.

A recent study by ICF International has clearly demonstrated the benefits the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would bring to North Carolina, including a forecast that the facility’s operation would lower annual average energy costs for consumers in our state by $134 million, support 925 permanent jobs and add $82 million to the gross state product.

The NCEast Alliance is a regional, public/private, not-for-profit, economic development corporation serving 26 counties with approximately 1.2 million residents within several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas in eastern North Carolina from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast. The Alliance provides community capacity building, marketing/lead generation, and assists companies with site location and expansion evaluations. For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit us at www.nceast.org or visit one of our workforce development sites (NCEast WorkReady Communities at www.ncworkready.org or STEM East at www.stemeast.org).