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Gas Reliability on Aquidneck Island

Summary of Winter Natural Gas Operations on Aquidneck Island

Last winter, we experienced an unprecedented gas supply event.  We and the Aquidneck Island community were part of an extraordinary response that included a thousand employees and tens of thousands of residents coming together to help each other through those challenging days and nights.

As winter approaches, Rhode Islanders should have confidence that gas reliability and future gas service on the Island are a top priority for National Grid. 

The following provides information and a brief summary of steps taken to prepare for gas operations on Aquidneck Island (AI) for the upcoming winter season of 2020/2021. 

Natural Gas Reliability Plan (Winter 2020/2021)
  • National Grid’s natural gas winter reliability plan outlines the measures being taken by the Company to deliver continuous service to customers for the upcoming winter season. The Company developed this plan after completing and verifying its annual comprehensive gas demand and supply analysis.  The plan includes measures to increase supply side capacity as well as demand side management solutions.  The Company also has refined “contingency plan” procedures (referenced later in this summary) in the event the aforementioned measures and solutions are not available or a issue arises upstream on interstate pipelines that adversely affects the Company’s ability to serve existing customers.

  • This winter’s plan includes temporary LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) equipment that we will have available for use at our property on Old Mill Lane in Portsmouth.  The site will become fully operational in November and will provide additional supply into the Aquidneck Island natural gas system if peak-hour demand is above contracted supply or if the Company experiences an event that reduces expected transmission supply to the island.  The facility will be demobilized in April 2021.  To learn more about the temporary LNG supply and safety parameters in place, click here.

  • An overview of the island’s reliability plan can be found Reliability Plan with additional FAQ’s LNG operations at Old Mill Lane by clicking here.
Emergency Response Plans
  • We update our Rhode Island Gas Emergency Response Plan (ERP) annually for the purpose of managing outages caused by storms and other natural disasters, civil unrest, major equipment failure, third party damages, or other events.  This plan contains confidential information but has been shared and exercised with public and regulatory officials.

  • We also have Emergency Response procedures in place for trucked LNG at Old Mill Lane in Portsmouth and shared these with local town officials and agencies.  These cover responses to a variety of scenarios including but not limited to a gas leak or spill, fire, site access and evacuation. 
Additonal Efforts Underway

Energy Efficiency
We are partnering will all three municipalities on Aquidneck Island through our “Community Initiative” marketing program. This program delivers coordinated customer outreach and marketing efforts between the Company and its municipal partners, with a goal of increasing residential and Commercial & Industrial (C&I) customer participation in existing gas and electric energy efficiency programs and provides financial incentives to municipalities who achieve stretch goal targets for expanded customer participation.  Although these measures are not focused on peak gas demand reductions exclusively, customer implementation of weatherization and gas equipment related measures offer the complementary benefit of reducing not only overall gas consumption, but also gas demand during peak times.  For more information, click here.

Gas Demand Response
We currently offer a Gas Demand Response pilot offering for all C&I customers and have proposed expanding and extending this pilot in its 2020 Energy Efficiency Plan filing.  Under the terms of this pilot, C&I customers can receive financial incentives for curtailing gas usage during peak three- or twenty-four-hour periods.  Customers typically deliver these reductions by (1) deferring gas use in industrial processes, (2) adjusting thermostat settings during peak periods, or (3) temporarily switching to alternative heating sources.  For more information on Gas Demand Response and other energy efficiency opportunities for businesses, click here.

Infrastructure Upgrades
The Company and its transmission provider are exploring the potential for a reinforcement project for the infrastructure that feeds Aquidneck Island. Both parties currently are evaluating initial proposals and expect to determine whether to move forward on this path by next year.

Contingency Planning
Although not anticipated, in the event portable LNG operations are not available when required or an upstream supply issue adversely impacts pipeline deliveries onto the island beyond what the portable LNG can supply, we have established a contingency plan.  The plan outlines different actions that could be taken, including including:  voluntary conservation; involuntary load shedding, and the post-curtailment/restoration process.

Natural Gas And The Environment
  • Given the region’s reliance on natural gas for home heating and the continuing increase in demand, natural gas is a critically important resource necessary to sustain the region.
  • Expanded access to natural gas has reduced emissions in the Northeast by decreasing the use of more carbon-intensive delivered fuels, such as oil and propane.  Those who convert to natural gas heat enjoy convenience, a price discount compared to competing fuels, and a “green” benefit that reduces emissions.
  • For nearly a decade, National Grid has provided customers with award winning energy efficiency programs that have helped save tens of thousands of therms annually, reducing energy use and their carbon footprint.
  • We believe natural gas and renewable natural gas can play a critical role in supporting the growth of electric vehicles, wind, solar, and other renewable technologies while also delivering lower-carbon heating.