AMHERST – People looking for new options for energy can now add natural gas to their list of choices thanks to a decision by the province on Wednesday.
Up till now, the only way to get natural gas was through a pipeline, but recommendations from an independent review concluded that natural gas should be treated the same as propane and oil. As a result, Irving Oil will now have natural gas available by truck, broadening the range of customers it can serve.
Dill Digdon, owner of Atlantic Combustion Products Limited, said natural gas is a cheaper alternative, although needs to be transported safely and shouldn’t be presumed as being under the same conditions as oil, which is less volatile when ignited.
“If it’s done safely and properly, it could be a good choice for rural areas,” said Digdon.
This new operation could begin as early as next year, with the natural gas transported in a form called compressed natural gas, or CNG. The first of Irving’s natural gas compression stations in Nova Scotia is expected to begin construction once negotiations are complete.
Roger MacIsaac, Director of Community and Economic development for the town of Amherst, said that Amherst is already ahead of the movement, having been one of the first communities in Nova Scotia to have a natural gas distribution system eight years ago.
“Our target was to provide an alternative energy source for people of Amherst.”
The benefits of natural gas include cost, less greenhouse gases, and the option for businesses that want to have an alternative form of energy.
“We have businesses that switch back and forth between oil and natural gas. They like being able to switch back and forth so they can keep up with the market. Natural gas is a commodity and right now it’s (the price) very good, very low.”