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1 6FCEDS Sponsored by: EDA Award #

2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND NOTES SEDA-COG would like to gratefully acknowledge the participation of the following project participants from Centre, Clinton, and Mifflin Counties: Centre County: Mr. Steven Dershem, Mr. Michael Pipe, Mr. Mark Higgins, and Mr. Chris Exarchos, current and former Commissioners Mr. Robert Jacobs, Ms. Sue Hannegan, and Ms. Elizabeth Lose, Centre County Office of Planning and Community Development Mr. Nicholas Barger, Office of GIS Clinton County: Mr. Robert Pete Smeltz, Mr. Jeffrey Snyder, Mr. Paul Conklin, and Mr. Joel Long, current and former Commissioners Mr. Tim Holladay, Clinton County Planning Department Mr. Jim Watson and Mr. Dan Ake, Clinton County GIS Department Mr. Michael Flanagan, Clinton County Economic Partnership Mifflin County: Mr. Kevin Kodish, Ms. Lisa Nancollas, Mr. Stephen Dunkle, Mr. Mark Sunderland, and Mr. Otis Riden, current and former Commissioners Mr. William Gomes, Mifflin County Planning and Development Department Ms. Laura Simonetti, Mifflin County GIS Department Mr. Michael Petroski, Standard Steel Mr. Robert Postal, Mifflin County Industrial Development Corporation We also wish to acknowledge the many valuable contributions of our utility law consultant, Mr. Anthony Adonizio, Esq., and the SEDA-COG Board for their support Additional digital copies of this report (in PDF format) may be downloaded from SEDA-COG s Regional Gas Utilization Initiative Study Web page at ii

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary... ES-1 Project Overview Economic Need for Project Project Goals Key Task Areas Measurement of Successful Outcomes General Description of Project Area Centre County Clinton County Mifflin County Targeted Investment Areas Methodology, Analysis, and Results Methodology Summary of Targeted Investment Area Assessment and Evaluation Results Legal Advice Utility Law Investigation Governance Project Results Summary of Results Future Needed Actions Appendix A Targeted Investment Areas: Data Inconsistencies, Recommendations for Improvements, and Prospects for a Replicable Process Model... A-1 A.1 Data Inconsistencies... A-1 A.2 Recommendations for Improvements... A-2 A.3 Prospects for a Replicable Modeling Process... A-2 Appendix B Draft Nonprofit Cooperative Articles of Incorporation... B-1 Appendix C Draft Nonprofit Cooperative Membership Application and Agreement... C-1 iii

4 LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES Figure ES-1: Percentage of Homes Heated with Natural Gas, Pennsylvania Counties... ES-1 Figure ES-2: Centre, Clinton, and Mifflin Counties Location Map... ES-3 Figure ES-3: Beech Creek-Blanchard-Valley Enterprise Container Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings... ES-4 Figure ES-4: Beech Creek-Blanchard Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs... ES-6 Figure 1-1: Percentage of Homes Heated with Natural Gas, Pennsylvania Counties Figure 1-2: Natural Gas Distribution Company Tariffed Areas in Project Counties Figure 2-1: Centre, Clinton, and Mifflin Counties Location Map Table 2-1: Characteristics of Study Counties Figure 3-1: SEDA-COG RGUI Targeted Investment Areas Model Approach Figure 3-2: Major Natural Gas Transmission Lines - Centre, Clinton, and Mifflin Counties Table 3-1: RGUI Assessment Index Rating Factors Figure 3-3: Mifflin County Hotspot Cluster Analysis Map Table 3-2: RGUI Evaluation Rating Factors and Weights Figure 3-4: Virtual Pipelines Evaluation Factors Figure 3-5: Decision Lens Level 1 and Level 2 Comparisons Hardline Extensions Figure 3-6: Example Decision Lens Factor Comparison Screen Table 3-3: Decision Lens Rankings for Centre County Targeted Investment Areas Hardline Extension Table 3-4: Decision Lens Rankings for Centre County Targeted Investment Areas Virtual Pipelines Table 3-5: Decision Lens Rankings for Clinton County Targeted Investment Areas Hardline Extensions Table 3-6: Decision Lens Rankings for Clinton County Targeted Investment Areas Virtual Pipelines Table 3-7: Decision Lens Rankings for Mifflin County Targeted Investment Areas Hardline Extensions Table 3-8: Decision Lens Rankings for Mifflin County Targeted Investment Areas Virtual Pipelines Figure 3-7: Decision Lens Grouped Evaluation Criteria Weights for Targeted Investment Areas, by County - Hardline Extensions Figure 3-8: Decision Lens Grouped Evaluation Criteria Weights for Targeted Investment Areas, by County Virtual Pipelines Figure 3-9: Decision Lens Individual Evaluation Criteria Weights for Targeted Investment Areas, by County - Hardline Extensions Figure 3-10: Decision Lens Individual Evaluation Criteria Weights for Targeted Investment Areas, by County Virtual Pipelines Table 3-9: Residential Fuel Consumption Table 3-10: Commercial Fuel Consumption Table 3-11: Centre County Matrix of Assessment Rating Scores iv

5 Table 3-12: Centre County Targeted Investment Area Evaluation/Prioritization Ratings Table 3-13: Centre County Targeted Investment Area Evaluation/Prioritization Ratings Virtual Pipelines Figure 3-11: Carolean Industrial Park Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings Figure 3-12: Centre Hall-Old Fort-Grange Fair-Hanover Foods Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings Figure 3-13: Milesburg-I-80/Alt. US 220 Interchange Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings Figure 3-14: Moshannon Valley Business Park Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings Figure 3-15: Snow Shoe Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings Figure 3-16: Centre Hall-Old-Fort-Grange Fair-Hanover Foods Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Columbia Gas Solution Table 3-14: Centre Hall-Old-Fort-Grange Fair-Hanover Foods Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Columbia Gas Solution Figure 3-17: Centre Hall-Old-Fort-Grange Fair-Hanover Foods Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Virtual Pipeline Solution Table 3-15: Centre Hall-Old-Fort-Grange Fair-Hanover Foods Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Virtual Pipeline Solution Figure 3-18: Milesburg-I-80 Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Table 3-16: Milesburg-I-80 Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Figure 3-19: Snow Shoe Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Table 3-17: Snow Shoe Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Table 3-18: Clinton County Matrix of Assessment Rating Scores Table 3-19: Clinton County Targeted Investment Area Evaluation/Prioritization Ratings Table 3-20: Clinton County Targeted Investment Area Evaluation/Prioritization Ratings Virtual Pipelines Figure 3-20: Beech Creek-Blanchard-Valley Enterprise Container Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings Figure 3-21: Mill Hall-Hogan Blvd. Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings Figure 3-22: Beech Creek-Blanchard Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Table 3-21: Beech Creek-Blanchard Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Figure 3-23: Mill Hall-Hogan Blvd. Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Table 3-22: Mill Hall-Hogan Blvd. Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Table 3-23: Mifflin County Matrix of Assessment Rating Scores v

6 Table 3-24: Mifflin County Targeted Investment Area Evaluation/Prioritization Ratings Table 3-25: Mifflin County Targeted Investment Area Evaluation/Prioritization Ratings Virtual Pipelines Figure 3-24: Mifflin County Industrial Park and Surrounding Areas Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings Figure 3-25: Standard Steel and Area to North Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings Figure 3-26: US 322-Burnham Interchange Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings Figure 3-27: Area East of US 322-Milroy Interchange Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Table 3-26: Area East of US 322-Milroy Interchange Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Figure 3-28: Pleasant Acres East Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Table 3-27: Pleasant Acres East Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Figure 3-29: Freedom Avenue Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Table 3-28: Freedom Avenue Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs Table 4-1: Identified Options for Establishing an Enabling Entity for New Natural Gas Service Figure 4-1: Potential New Natural Gas Service Relationships, Without Support Figure 4-2: Potential New Natural Gas Service Relationships, With Support Table 4-2: SEDA-COG Regional Gas Utilization Initiative Potential Project Funding Sources Table 4-3: Geographic Options for Establishing a Nonprofit Cooperative Corporation(s) Figure 4-3: SEDA-COG RGUI Nonprofit Cooperative Development Process Figure 5-1: Proposed Schedule for Startup and Maintenance of Natural Gas Nonprofit Cooperative Corporation vi

7 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Overview of Project Pennsylvania is rich in natural gas resources, and since the Marcellus Shale formation has recently become accessible the volume of gas extracted in the state has dramatically increased. However, access to this new source of natural gas in the 11-county region served by SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) has been greatly constrained because of the lack of delivery infrastructure (see Figure ES-1). Provision of natural gas service has also often been restricted in the past to many potential business, institutional, commercial and residential customers by traditional natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs). This barrier has existed because of substantial distances involved in extending pipelines, problematic cost economics, and regulatory restrictions. SEDA-COG recognizes that it is vital to our region s economic viability to promote and enable better access to natural gas to attract new jobs and retain existing ones, as well as to provide energy cost savings to consumers. Figure ES-1: Percentage of Homes Heated with Natural Gas, Pennsylvania Counties Source: Analysis of Potential Demand for the Extension and Expansion of Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure in Pennsylvania: A Report in Response to Senate Resolution 29, The Centre for Rural Pennsylvania, November ES-1

8 In this EDA-funded Regional Gas Utilization Initiative (RGUI), SEDA-COG proposed new natural gas services through identification and prioritization of targeted investment areas ( TIAs ) suitable for new or expanded natural gas service. We also organized stakeholders and built consensus for provision of these services, identified potential grant and loan funding programs for developing those services, and investigated potential supporting regulatory actions that have led to establishment of a new regional SEDA-COG natural gas Nonprofit Cooperative Corporation (NPC). The impetus for this initiative was provided largely by SEDA-COG s experience in establishing a Joint Rail Authority (JRA), which was formed in the 1980s to retain short line rail service to large industrial customers in the wake of Conrail s plans to abandon many lines. The JRA has proven to be a success in its mission, and SEDA-COG viewed the organization as a potential model in forming a similar regulatory body (or bodies) for providing natural gas services. The following were the proposed goals of the project: Identify the legal, operational and funding requirements to create a municipal authority, cooperative, corporation or other body charged with facilitating and expanding natural gas utility service and usage throughout the project area. Identify early opportunities for providing gas utility service to existing industrial parks and residential areas. Identify potential new industrial sites and parks in close proximity to other supporting infrastructure for development by county industrial development corporation groups in both the short and long term that will serve as attractive locations for manufacturers utilizing gas as both an energy source and feedstock for their operations. Identify priority locations that would also provide gas service to residential areas at the same time so as to significantly reduce energy costs to residential users and increase disposable income which is a key to stimulating local consumption and demand so critical to sustaining a vibrant regional economy. Identify at least one potential demonstration project in each of the counties that could be undertaken in the near term in order to test the commercial viability of this approach to regional economic development. In addition, to address the economic development needs of the SEDA-COG region as set forth in the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy: Five Year Update report 1, the RGUI project was intended to support strategic goals 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Action Plan on the CEDS: 1. Encourage the protection, modernization, and expansion of existing businesses and job opportunities, and where appropriate, encourage entrepreneurship and the recruitment of new business and industry consistent with the character of the Region. 2. Encourage the prudent utilization of the area's natural resources in an environmentally sustainable manner (including land, water, natural gas, and lumber). 1 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy: Five Year Update, SEDA-Council of Governments, June ES-2

9 3. Improve and expand infrastructure, flood resiliency, and conservation/greening efforts to enhance the older and rural centers throughout the area for business and economic development. 4. Actively encourage energy conservation and foster the deployment of locally-owned, locally-used energy projects. Project Area A project area included Centre, Clinton and Mifflin Counties, which are located in rural Central Pennsylvania. The map below in Figure ES-2 shows the location of the three-county area. Figure ES-2: Centre, Clinton, and Mifflin Counties Location Map Targeted Investment Areas Methodology, Analysis, and Results The first major goal of the RGUI project was to identify key targeted investment areas that could benefit from new or increased access to natural gas utility service. Initial results were achieved through development and institution of a systematic process for identifying concentrations of potential utility gas users, using a set of economic, social, environmental, and accessibility assessment factors applied through automated geographic information systems (GIS) analysis procedures. Assessment index values were generated for each property parcel in all counties, with higher values indicating properties most attractive or suitable for new natural gas service. Figure ES-3 provides an example of the resulting assessment map for one of the TIAs. ES-3

10 Figure ES-3: Beech Creek-Blanchard-Valley Enterprise Container Targeted Investment Area: Assessment Ratings ES-4

11 Second, the TIAs were prioritized using a group collaborative process that provided a structured yet flexible suite of tools for ranking candidate TIAs according to non-quantifiable factors. The prioritization process yielded five priority TIAs for Centre County, three for Mifflin County, and two for Clinton County. These TIAs were then evaluated for potential natural gas consumption usage, and high-level cost estimates were developed for phased implementation. Recommended infrastructure types considered for these TIAs included hardline expansions of distribution system pipelines as well as deployment of virtual pipelines, infrastructure based upon delivery of compressed natural gas by truck. The example shown in Figure ES-4 displays the resulting project phases and projected costs map for one TIA. ES-5

12 Figure ES-4: Beech Creek-Blanchard Targeted Investment Area: Proposed Project Phases and Projected Costs ES-6

13 Legal Advice To complement the targeted investment area process, a utility law consultant conducted research to determine the feasibility of establishing an organizational entity to carry out administrative, funding, and oversight responsibilities involved in the provision of natural gas distribution service in the threecounty project region. The consultant completed a utility law investigation report that included a written opinion identifying and ranking the feasibility of such entities, with analysis of the various limitations, barriers, and issues associated with each option. The most attractive and achievable organizational option was determined to be a Nonprofit Cooperative Corporation (NPC) structure. The report also evaluated the feasibility of establishing natural gas infrastructure that could be held in public ownership, and whether funds could be leveraged to sustain an income-based funding stream for infrastructure maintenance and expansion. SEDA-COG then worked with the consultant to prepare a list and evaluation of the best potential funding programs. At the conclusion of the targeted investment areas portion of the project, the consultant prepared materials related to establishing the Nonprofit Cooperative Corporation entity, including its recommended structure, steps needed to establish the entity, articles of incorporation, bylaws, a board structure, and defined policies and powers. SEDA-COG also prepared supporting materials for project stakeholders to explain the steps needed to establish the NPC. These supporting documents (see Appendices for examples) formed the blueprint to establish the entity for the three project counties, and county stakeholders began that process immediately following the completion of the project. Project Results In almost all respects, SEDA-COG supported and met the main RGUI project goals. Through applying a systematic process model approach, the Regional Gas Utilization Initiative study was successful in identifying prioritized targeted investment areas, along with determining costs for potential implementation projects for new/expanded natural gas service. The process model proved to be adaptable and flexible in its application, which was necessary because of differences in data availability and quality among the three project counties, and their unique physical and cultural characteristics. The process model is replicable and can be applied in other geographic areas and situations. SEDA-COG identified several priority projects for each county, which include: Centre County: o Centre Hall - Old Fort - Grange Fair - Hanover Foods o Milesburg - I-80/ALT 220 Interchange o Snow Shoe Clinton County: o Beech Creek Blanchard Valley Enterprise Container o Mill Hall Hogan Blvd. Mifflin County: o Mifflin County Industrial Park and Surrounding Areas o Pleasant Acres East o Freedom Avenue Area ES-7

14 SEDA-COG and our utility law consultant also successfully identified actions to establish a Nonprofit Cooperative Corporation administrative body designed to facilitate procurement of grant funding and other potential equity/loan sources for infrastructure development and deployment, ensure sustainability, quicker buildout of natural gas infrastructure, and a faster return on investment. With respect to the CEDA goals mentioned earlier, the project well supports the improvement and expansion of community infrastructure related to economic development. The deployment of locallyowned, distributed energy projects is also being facilitated through establishment of the Nonprofit Cooperative Corporation. There is much yet to be done to move completely away from the use of fossil fuels in the SEDA-COG region in the long-term, but increased utilization of natural gas resources can provide a cleaner immediate benefit than other fossil fuels currently in widespread use. Perhaps equally important to our analysis are the results from promoting the need for increased access to natural gas access throughout the SEDA-COG region and beyond. SEDA-COG staff have spoken to many groups about the project and the region s natural gas needs, and our participation in the Governor s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force has raised SEDA-COG s profile and participation in promoting better access to natural gas statewide. SEDA-COG looks to continue this meaningful role in the future. Finally, it is important to emphasize that SEDA-COG considers this report to essentially be the feasibility and planning study that will lead to development and implementation of actual new natural gas services. ES-8