Northwest Gas & Power Groups Commend Planned FERC Workshops but Stress Regional Differences

PORTLAND, OR – The Northwest Gas Association (NWGA) and the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee (PNUCC) compliment the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for its decision to hold regional workshops on coordination as reliance on natural gas for power generation increases across the country.

In joint comments on FERC Docket AD12-12 submitted by the NWGA, PNUCC and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the organizations called for FERC to consider regional differences in energy infrastructure and resource mix as it contemplates its role in facilitating greater coordination.

“The Northwest power system and its mix of resources are unique from other regions of the country,” said Dick Adams, Executive Director of PNUCC.  “That’s why we said any federal policies promulgated in this matter should accommodate regional differences.  We are pleased FERC will look at these issues in that regional context,” Adams continued.

For instance, the Pacific Northwest relies more on hydropower than any other region of the country and is near the top in wind power production.  This can create challenges for the natural gas system as the region leans more on natural gas to produce power in low water years and when the wind isn’t blowing.

Dan Kirschner, Executive Director of the NWGA said, “There is plenty of gas available to fuel additional generation in the region, and the pipeline systems by which it is transported here from production areas are highly reliable.

Kirschner noted that the region is already carefully planning to ensure continued reliability.  “Our goal is the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas where it is needed, when it is needed,” said Kirschner.  “We’ve been actively working on planning and operational coordination with our electric counterparts in the region for more than a year now.”

NWGA and PNUCC members, along with other stakeholders are developing communication and operational protocols should disruptions occur in the existing system.  PNUCC and the NWGA are also collaborating on a new initiative called the Power & Natural Gas Planning Task Force to ensure that the Northwest is planning effectively to maintain its record of reliability.

Get To Know Our New Website: The Annual Energy Conference Kindle Contest

The NWGA has a revamped website and we’d like you to have a look around our shiny new digs. If you’re an attendee at our Annual Energy Conference find the answers to the following three questions on our website and email them to Ben Hemson at by 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 7th. Correct responses will be entered for a chance to win a Kindle Touch.

  1. According to the NWGA’s 2012 Natural Gas Outlook, what is the projected annual growth rate for natural gas consumption in the Northwest? (Hint: you can find the answer on our website and in the demand section of the 2012 Outlook Document).
  2. Summarize the NWGA’s mission in five words, extra points for creativity!
  3. What are the dates of the 2013 Annual Energy Conference? (Hint: Stare at the front page long enough and the answer may come to you).

Again, send your answers to Ben Hemson, by 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 7th. The winner will be announced during the conference’s closing remarks.

The Ninth Annual Energy Conference Twitter Contest!

Have a great quote, comment, or question you’d like to share from the Ninth Annual Energy Conference? Share it with us on Twitter!

By adding the hashtag: #2012AEC to the end of your tweet you’ll be entered to win our Twitter contest and take home an iPod shuffle (in a natural gas themed blue of course). By including “#2012AEC” in your tweet other conference attendees and our staff will be able to see what you’ve tweeted and most importantly enter you into the drawing for the iPod.

Not sure what the heck Twitter is but still want to participate? You can create an account here. Once you’ve signed up click here to get more information on just what a hash tag is.

Natural Gas and Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

What is it about natural gas that makes it so suited to play a key role in both today’s and tomorrow’s energy mix? Let’s take a closer look. This white paper explores the many attributes and availability of natural gas, its versatility and how, moving forward, we can best use natural gas as part of a mix of resources to meet our environmental and economic objectives.

To download the file, click here

2012 Gas Outlook

Released annually, the Gas Outlook is a detailed ten-year look at expected natural gas demand, supply availability and prices in the Northwest. The Outlook offers unique insight, representing a consensus view of the regional natural gas market developed by industry participants directly serving Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia.

“We have seen unprecedented change in the natural gas industry over the past few years,
” said Frank Morehouse, NWGA Board President. “The Gas Outlook helps industry observers gain insight on what those changes mean for our region,” he added.

Breakthroughs in drilling technology have unlocked vast reserves of shale gas, replacing past concerns over declining production with plentiful supply. Regional demand for natural gas is expected to grow annually by an average of 0.9 percent per year, leading to a cumulative growth of 8.1 percent by 2021. The role of natural gas as a fuel to generate electricity is a key question discussed in the 2012 Gas Outlook.

Read Entire 2012 Gas Outlook Here


Plugging into Natural Gas

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AGA Report Details Responsible Natural Gas Development

Natural Gas and Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

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Annual Energy Conference NATURAL GAS: Realizing the Potential

Click on the links below to download a .pdf version of the presentations from the Ninth Annual Energy Conference. Please note that some presentations are not available to be shared publicly online.

If you have any questions or would like to be put in contact with a speaker please contact Ben Hemson (bhemson at

Ninth Annual Energy Conference

NATURAL GAS:  Realizing the Potential

Presentations & Speakers:   

  • No Pipeline, No Problem, Kirt Montague, Plum Energy LLC & New Path Energy Capital
  • Washington State and Beyond, Representative Jeff Morris, Washington State House of Representatives

Thanks Again to our Sponsors!
Platinum:  BP/IGI Resources. 
Noble Americas Energy Solutions. 
Silver: Shell Energy North America, CMS, United Energy Trading, and TransAlta. 
Argus Media, Stoel Rives.

Natural Gas Term of the Week: Direct Connect Customers

What it means: Usually very large industrial customers connected directly to an interstate pipeline system. These customers purchase their own gas supplies and contract directly from the pipeline for transportation, thereby bypassing the bundled services typically offered by local distribution companies.

See it in action: What do you do if you want to use natural gas for a large industrial application but you’re miles away from the nearest local distribution company (LDC)? If you’re lucky you can call up one of the pipelines serving the region and buy gas directly from them.

Have a look at our map of the region’s natural gas system to get an idea of where direct connect customers could be located. As you can see LDCs focus on more populous areas, it’s not cost effective to build distribution lines to homes located many miles apart.  Industrial users can consume significant amounts of gas so even if they are located far from the nearest LDC it may make financial sense for them to work directly with a pipeline to secure a clean and cost effective way to power their industrial application.

Natural Gas Terms of the Week are posted each Monday, check back weekly to boost your natural gas IQ.

Follow the NWGA on Twitter: @Ben_at_NWGA