Strategic considerations for pipelines and utilities in a “green” regulatory environment

Apr 04, 2019

Source/Author : Charles River Associates

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Published at : March 2019

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Recent appellate court rulings and emerging political trends are making the already delay-ridden permitting process for pipeline development even more problematic. Over the last decade, the time and resources required to navigate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)’s certification process haveincreased sharply due to a dramatic rise in interventions and litigation, often driven by environmental groups and state agencies. In 2007, the average approval for FERC certificate applications was 302 days; in 2017, it was 504 days—a 67% increase, and these numbers continue to rise.1 And this increasedoesn’t consider the considerable delays that occur after receipt of a FERC certificate in the statepermitting and appeals process.

The changing regulatory environment also has far-reaching implications for downstream players—utilities, power generators, and all those who depend on natural gas and electricity from these sources. Growth in regional infrastructure is a critical factor for utilities to provide economic and reliable service to its customers.

Clearly the need for gas infrastructure remains strong. However, our discussions with clients and observation of evolving political, market, and regulatory realities suggest that pipeline developers and downstream players may benefit from updated analytic and strategic frameworks as the public dialogueshifts toward a “non-carbon future.” This is the first of a series of papers discussing the impacts of climate- focused regulation.

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