A Framework for Non-Pipeline Alternatives Analysis and Review of Existing Approaches

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States are increasingly interested in gas distribution system planning and the role that demand-side resources can play in maintaining an affordable, reliable, equitable, and low-carbon energy system. In particular, public utility commissions and utilities are exploring the role of non-pipeline alternatives (NPA) – an investment or activity that defers, reduces, or avoids the need to construct or replace a pipeline – in gas distribution system planning.
NPAs are an emerging cost and risk mitigation tool that can provide gas utilities with an opportunity to reduce emissions, gas system costs, and customer risk by avoiding unnecessary infrastructure spending. Rather than address system issues with more costly and long-lived traditional capital projects, utilities can leverage demand-side NPA resources such as energy efficiency and electrification as well as supply-side NPA resources to meet system needs.
However, there is limited guidance on performing an NPA and even fewer lessons learned. To fill this gap, the U.S. Department of Energy funded two reports on NPAs. The first report is a literature review that focuses on four states' NPA policies. The second report offers a framework for evaluating NPAs that states can adapt to meet their policy needs.

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A webinar discussing this research was recorded on December 4, 2023, and can be viewed here


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