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Bob Catell, Chairman of Keyspan
October 27, 2006 @ 12:00 am EDT
This morning Keyspan’s Chairman, Bob Catell spoke to our group at LIMBA. His message was of reassurance. He began by stating that the cost of Keyspan gas service has not increased in the last ten years, but the cost of the commodity has. The amount of gas in storage at this time is high. When gas stocks are high the cost of the commodity is usually lower, but much of the supply that we have now was purchased at a high price, so the price of gas will decrease, but not as much as you would otherwise expect.
Mr. Catell explained the significance of increased availability of gas, in particular the Iroquois Pipeline. He talked some on the travails of that effort that were obstructed by the state of Connecticut. The conversation with the audience went on to alternative fuels and Mr. Catell explained that extra cost may be as much as ten times the cost of a conventional plant, making them less economically feasible, even when the cost of saved fuel was considered.
Some intriguing technologies were discussed including “river turbines”. River turbines are placed in places like the East River. They are placed low enough in the river as to not obstruct marine traffic. They are capable of reorienting to the flow of the river when the tide changes.
According to the Keyspan chairman the best bang for the buck is state of the art “combined cycle” plants. These plants in addition to being infinitely cleaner than the old stock of plants, will save enough fuel to justify the additional 30% cost of construction.
We spoke about the Northport plant. The Northport plant uses “once through cooling”a technology which is no longer permitted. Therefore the engineering challenge would be formidable, according to Catell, when creating new power facilities at that location.
The concerns that some of had about the National Grid takeover of Keyspan would result in some downsizing, but that downsizing would come into being by the process of retirements and career changes initiated by the employees themselves. Mr. Catell believes that one of the reasons that Keyspan is so attractive to National Grid is because of the relationships Keyspan has with the community.
Pictured: Bob Catell, Chairman Keyspan, Vincent Frigeria, Government relations Keyspan and Ernie Fazio, LIMBA Chairman