Union Gas would like to hear from large agricultural operations and other businesses in the Chatham-Kent area that are interested in new or additional natural gas distribution capacity beginning as early as fall 2018.
According to Union Gas officials, the company is expanding its existing Panhandle transmission system in 2017 to provide increased natural gas capacity to Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent and surrounding areas, including the fast-growing greenhouse market in the Leamington and Kingsville areas.
Additional pipeline infrastructure expansions off Union’s Panhandle transmission system would provide for additional capacity in the Chatham-Kent area that would support additional economic growth in the greenhouse sector in 2018 and beyond.
The call for Expression of Interest is the first step in determining support for a potential expansion project, to be built along or near a proposed new pipeline corridor, which could provide up to 75,000 m3/hour of additional capacity to serve new and existing customers in this underserviced area.
“The Municipality of Chatham-Kent and Union Gas have been working together for many months exploring options to serve new agricultural business customer inquiries in this area,” said Mark Isherwood, vice-president of sales and marketing and customer care for Union Gas. “The Ontario government’s Natural Gas Grant Program can now help make the project a reality for new business customers. To maximize the economic development benefits from this funding, we are asking all potential customers, especially any large new businesses like greenhouses and others, to submit an ‘Expression of Interest’ form.”
Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope said the immediate goal is to measure interest from local industries, including the greenhouse sector, where more natural gas capacity is needed.
“It’s a great opportunity. It’s about interest. There is no financial commitment at this point,” he said.
Hope said the pipeline wouldn’t just be for the agricultural sector, however.
“Greenhouses are a part of it, but a new pipeline creates more capacity and takes the stress off existing lines,” he said.
With greenhouses, this has the potential to create more jobs, Hope said, adding there are spinoff benefits as well, including in the trucking and food processing industries, as well as high-tech support jobs.
“Chatham-Kent is excited to be working with Union Gas to help open up this area of Chatham-Kent to new economic development opportunities including greenhouse developments,” Hope said. “This project could supply gas service for many hundreds of acres of new greenhouses in Chatham-Kent and we have had to turn away these opportunities in the past because of a lack of natural gas capacity in the area. This process is the first step to bring significant new gas capacity to the area to support new economic development.”
The proposed pipeline facilities will bring incremental natural gas capacity into much of northern Chatham-Kent and will potentially include facilities in the Tupperville area along Base Line to east of Dresden to Kent Bridge Road and south along Kent Bridge Road to Kent Bridge; and near Dover Centre.
The development of this project is contingent on sufficient market support, approval of the project by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and provincial funding support.
Union Gas, with the support of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, will be applying for funding from the Ontario government’s Natural Gas Grant Program for rural natural gas expansion, with the goal of making the project economically viable for customers in the area.
More information and Expression of Interest bid forms can be found on www.uniongas.com/ckruralexpansion.
Forms are due back to Union Gas by May 23.