English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
PITTSBURGH, PA – There’s been plenty of debate over the Marcellus Shalenatural gas field, but new research adds a twist that could impact political and environmental battles. Two independent financial firms say the Marcellus isn’t just the biggest natural gas field in the country – it’s the cheapest place for energy companies to drill.
One of the reports adds that the Marcellus reserves that lie below parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York are far larger than recent government estimates, while another said the powerful combination of resource, cost and location is altering natural gas prices and market trends across the nation.
The Marcellus could contain “almost half of the current proven natural gas reserves in the U.S.,” a report from Standard & Poor’s issued this week said.
Another recent report from ITG Investment Research, a worldwide financial firm based in New York, found that a detailed analysis of Marcellus well production data suggested that federal government estimates of its reserves “are grossly understated.”
The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Allentown energy company PPL Corp. will hire thousands of workers to replace retirees and spend billions of dollars to upgrade aging power grids and reduce emissions from coal-fired plants over the next several years, Chief Executive Officer William Spence said Thursday.
Spence, who became CEO last year and company chairman earlier this year, spoke to members of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce at a lunch at Hotel Bethlehem. He joined PPL in 2006 as chief operating officer after working for Pepco Holdings for 19 years.
The company expects to hire 300 to 500 workers each year for the foreseeable future to replace retiring engineers, linemen and nuclear power plant operators, Spence said. About 100 of those positions each year will be in the Lehigh Valley, he said.
“Brunner Island remains an important part of PPL’s future. The company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental improvements at the plant to keep it viable for the long term,” said George Lewis, PPL’s director of corporate communications.
Brunner Island produces enough power to drive 1 million homes. But keeping it chugging along will buck a national trend and require even more investments in pollution equipment.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A malfunction at a PPL substation in East Petersburg knocked out power to thousands and created traffic backups on area roads Thursday afternoon.
PPL spokesman Kurt Blumenau said a tripped transformer sparked the 4:30 p.m. outage that affected about 5,200 homes and businesses in Manheim and East Hempfield townships as well as a portion of the western part of Lancaster city.
As promised after storms disabled the regional power grid three times in 2011, PPL Electric Utilities on Thursday announced the start of a $35 million project to upgrade its distribution system in southern and western Berks County and parts of Lancaster and Chester counties.
During public hearings in Harrisburg and Reading this year called by state Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat, and state Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone, a Reading Democrat, PPL officials promised an overall $3 billion upgrade to its electric grid, which covers parts of Berks and 29 other counties.
Electric customers in the project area are served by a network of 69-kilovolt transmission lines that are nearing their capacity, PPL officials said.
The investment represents nearly a 50 percent increase over what it spent last year on new transmission lines, poles and substations, the company announced Friday.
More than 400,000 PPL customers lost power in August after the remnants of Hurricane Irene swept through eastern Pennsylvania. And an October snowstorm cut power to 388,000 PPL customers, nearly half of whom were in the Lehigh Valley. Nearly 10,000 in the Lehigh Valley had no electricity for six days after the snow.
YOU’D ASSUME that Gail Newman is using hyperbole when she calls the Philadelphia Gas Works a “fascist” regime run by “devious gangsters” relying on “Mafia-like” tactics to shake her down for $15,000 worth of natural gas she never used.
Bit over the top, right? Turns out, Newman’s not the only one who feels that way.
“They know they can extort the money . . . ” she said. “I’m just a middle-class person trying to make a buck, and they’re taking their boot and squashing us. I’m so pissed!”
Kudos to Allentown for embracing “Green Technology” that will save their taxpayers money! PPL Electric Utilities is partnering with the city to install new LED street lights in an 7-block section of Hamilton Street for a trial run. These lights are expected to significantly decrease the yearly cost of operating each light. Allentown has 8,000 street lights.