- State News
- Gas Industry
SEDA-COG KICKS OFF NATURAL GAS UTILIZATION PROJECT
October 18, 2013
SEDA-COG, in conjunction with Centre, Clinton, and Mifflin counties has begun a project to increase the utilization of regionally developed natural gas in Central Pennsylvania. The $160,000 project is intended to make natural gas more accessible for residential, industrial, and vehicular use. Funding has been provided through SEDA-COG, the counties, Mifflin County Industrial Development Corporation, Standard Steel (located in Burnham, Mifflin County), and an $80,000 grant from the federal Economic Development Administration.
Commenting, SEDA-COG Executive Director Dennis Robinson said, “There are homeowners in the region who want to heat their houses with natural gas, but can’t. There are companies here that want to use natural gas for industrial processes, but can’t. Through this project we will identify the appropriate investments and type of coordinating body needed to make this resource available to those who want it.”
Emphasizing the cooperative nature of the natural gas utilization project, Robinson said, “We plan to work with gas companies that have established a presence in the Marcellus Shale region, with business leaders, community officials, planning departments, and economic development groups - a solid public-private partnership of stakeholders.”
As a first step, the project will explore the creation of a municipal authority, co-op, corporation, or other entity to facilitate and expand natural gas service throughout the project area. Appropriate areas for service expansion will be identified, such as business parks or industrial sites with access to needed infrastructure. Priority will be given to locations that can also provide natural gas accessibility to residential areas.
To a degree, the project is based on SEDA-COG's rail line preservation efforts and the creation of the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority, which owns six shortline railroads in Central Pennsylvania. The six lines are leased to a private operator, which provides service.
As the gas utilization project moves forward, targeted investment areas will be identified, i.e., concentrations of potential users of natural gas. They will be evaluated in terms of potential gas consumption, cost of providing service, economic impacts, and the potential for future development.
In terms of vehicular use, the project will identify the infrastructure needed to make natural gas available for locally operated vehicle fleets, both private, e.g., trucking companies; and public, e.g., county- or municipally-owned cars.
“Our region has enjoyed significant economic benefits from the development of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region, but we can do more,” said Centre County Commissioner Chris Exarchos, “With natural gas available just a few miles away, we should find a way for people to use it in their homes and businesses.
“If America is going to take full advantage of its abundant natural gas reserves, domestic markets must be established. This natural gas utilization project has the potential to be expanded to other counties in Central Pennsylvania, resulting in permanent, sustainable markets for this important natural resource.”