The shale revolution in Pennsylvania has impacted economic growth and energy connectivity across the state. As demand increases for the energy to run our businesses, vehicles and homes, so too does the demand for adequate capacity of the energy industry to provide affordable and reliable generation power. However, this capacity is underscored by pipeline connectivity and cannot run at full potential without cohesive development plans to expand this infrastructure and bring energy generation resources to respective end users.
According to Stephanie Wissman, Executive Director of Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania (API-PA), this is fundamentally an issue of infrastructure development in Pennsylvania and across the country. She explains that we are currently “in the middle of an energy renaissance, and unfortunately the pipeline capacity is not enough…to match the robust, prolific energy production that we are seeing.” This means that while we have sufficient stock of the energy resource, there is not currently “adequate capacity to get it to the end user.” She stressed that, “this is something we are very concerned about and is one of our important issues moving forward.”
This is a crucial issue to tap into for Pennsylvania, as once natural gas is connected “to market to connect that end use,” the local manufacturing industry will receive a boost “that should already be coming to Pennsylvania.” With the “close proximity to the resource” in Pennsylvania, the state stands as an attractive destination to relocate for companies described as “high-intensity users of energy” with “energy bills [that account for] over fifty percent of their operating budget.” Wissman further noted that, “it is also important to note that when you are able to get this resource out to market, that also helps keep energy costs low.”
Though manufacturing used to serve as the backbone to the Pennsylvanian economy, the industry has declined in recent years. This can be attributed to a range of factors, but boil down to rising costs in energy and escalated government regulations surrounding it. A recent report commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers indicated that demand for natural gas was expected to grow significantly over the next decade. Developing new and repurposed pipeline infrastructure portend to help revive this sector, and boost Pennsylvanian energy connectivity and economic growth.