Special report: Natural Gas and Economic Development in the Southern Tier

Last month, Chenango County Economic Development Consultant Steven Palmatier was asked to present a proposal to an energy subcommittee of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council – one of 10 regional councils in the state that is competing for $1 billion in grants, tax credits and other funding sources. We are reprinting it here, in a two-part series.

By Steven Palmatier

Chenango County Economic Development Consultant

The recent development of extraction of natural gas from tight shale formations is rapidly changing the global energy picture with natural gas destined to become a key component of the world’s energy supply.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the United States, where expanding supplies of natural gas from the numerous shale plays has driven the NYMEX settlement price from a high of $13.105 in July of 2008 to a low of $3.857 in September of 2011. This price decline has made natural gas competitive with coal in the electric power generation arena. It has also allowed consumers of natural gas – in areas where the infrastructure to distribute the product is available – to actually see their energy costs decline over the past three years.

With the construction of the Millennium Pipeline in late December 2008, portions of the Southern Tier were assured access to this abundant resource. If we hope to be competitive with the rest of the nation and the world, natural gas must play a major role in any energy plan for the area.

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