What is a Non-Pipeline Alternative?
A non-pipeline alternative (NPA), also referred to as a non-pipe alternative, is a technology or solution that helps utilities and energy systems planners delay, or avoid entirely large investments in energy infrastructure. Non-pipe alternatives, like non-wires alternatives (for electric utilities) can also be referred to as ‘Demand Side Management’ – a group of actions designed to manage and optimize a site’s energy consumption and to reduce costs.
Why are Non-Pipe Alternatives Important?
To understand the importance of non-pipe alternatives, you need to think about the energy needs of a growing population.
There are many benefits to population growth, such as economic development and workforce expansion. However, a growing population requires more and more energy. So how can utilities manage their peak day load without building additional infrastructure?
For gas utilities, this means moving more gas from where it’s generated to where people’s homes where it will be used. To do this, gas utilities may need to build new pipelines but this requires a large capital expenditure. There are many barriers to building new pipelines, including regulatory policies. Some U.S. states actually prohibit new energy infrastructure as a means to meet increased energy demand.
That’s where a non-pipe alternative can be incredibly effective!
Example of a Non-Pipe Alternative
Reducing downstream energy consumption with energy efficiency
A prime example of a NPA is Energy Efficiency! By reducing energy demand, gas molecules are either available for consumption by other users or create additional capacity on the system. The energy we save is the cheapest, cleanest, and most reliable source of new energy.
Want to learn more about how NPAs are evaluated and used? See how National Grid and MyHEAT are partnering together on an energy efficiency non-pipeline alternative in New York.