Enbridge Adds Solar Facilities to Power Pipeline Operations

By Jeff Awalt, Executive Editor

HOUSTON (P&GJ) — Enbridge, citing a recent pledge to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, on Friday said it has broken ground on a second solar facility to help power natural gas pipeline compressor stations.

Enbridge's Lambertville Solar Project entered service last month in New Jersey. (photo: Enbridge)

The $6.5 million Heidlersburg Solar Project will produce 2.5 megawatts (MW) of solar energy for Enbridge’s Heidlersburg Compressor Station, offsetting a portion of the station’s electric load and helping power the compressor units that keep gas flowing along Enbridge's cross-continent Texas Eastern Transmission pipeline. 

The announcement of its Heidlersburg project in Tyrone Township, Pa., comes only a month after Enbridge's first solar facility entered service. That facility, the $7 million Lambertville Solar Project in New Jersey, now supplies 2.25 MW of energy along the Texas Eastern right-of-way.

“This second project in the program tangibly demonstrates the natural gas-renewables partnership and will help pave the way for our natural gas pipeline operations to be even more environmentally focused," Caitlin Tessin, Enbridge’s director of Market Innovation, said.

The stations that will receive supplemental solar power operate using both natural gas powered turbines, and Electric Motor Drive (EMD) compressor units.

The Heidlersburg Solar Project is expected to reduce GHG emissions by 73,200 metric tons over the 25-year life of the facility—or the equivalent of taking 15,810 cars off the road, Enbridge said.

Combined, it said, these first two solar facilities will reduce GHG emissions by nearly 131,700 metric tons over their 25-year lives.

The Heidlersburg project is expected to enter service in the second quarter of 2021. A number of Enbridge facilities along Texas Eastern are being evaluated for possible solar self-power projects, the company said.

Mike Butler, mid-Atlantic Director of the Consumer Energy Alliance, said his organization "applauds the natural gas-renewables partnership" at Enbridge's Heidlersburg and Lambertville stations.

"Renewable energy projects like this one must be part of the long-term answer to solve our energy and environment equation,” Butler said.

Merit SI is the engineering, procurement, and construction manager for both projects.

Calgary-based Enbridge – Canada's biggest pipeline operator – announced its emissions-reduction targets on Nov. 6.  Its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 mirrors that of a national program launched Jan. 1 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government.

In addition to its solar investments, Enbridge said it plans to invest in wind, hydrogen and renewable natural gas.

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