Unfortunately, the pipeline is outdated and in dire need of capacity upgrades. In times of high energy consumption during the winter and summer, the energy grid is often strained due to capacity limitations. When the natural gas cannot meet our energy needs, other energy sources such as coal-fired and oil-fired power plants are called upon to help meet demand.
There are several problems with powering up these resources in times of high demand. First, they take nearly 24 hours to become operational once called upon. This could be a potentially deadly scenario when temperatures dip below freezing in the winter. Second, to start up these plants even for a short period of time is extremely expensive. During a five day period in the winter of 2013-2014, oil-fired and coal-fired power plants were called upon to help the grid meet the energy demands of Rhode Islanders and the rest of New England. This short period of high demand cost New England an estimated $1.3 billion. Lastly, oil and coal resources emit massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, lowering the air quality in our state.
Investing in renewable energy and specifically in wind will help Rhode Island create its own power, making our energy more secure and environmentally friendly while also creating jobs.