THE ROAD AHEAD BLOG

Virtual Natural Gas Pipeline Becomes Reality

By Patric Rayburn

The Great Recession hit New England hard.  The idea that would become NG Advantage evolved from this economic challenge.

Tom Evslin, now NG Advantage’s founder and CEO was tasked by then Governor Douglas to be Vermont’s stimulus czar to help get Vermont back on its feet.  As Tom spent more time researching solutions, one thing became clear: paper mills, hospitals and manufacturing facilities that were not located on a natural gas pipeline were at a tremendous disadvantage to those that were.  Tom saw that facilities located on the nation’s natural gas pipeline were using natural gas’ benefits as a cheaper and cleaner fuel option to help get them back in the game competitively.  Facilities not located on a pipeline, however, were stuck using expensive and dirty fuel oil.  The gas industry literally calls these businesses “stranded properties.”

If the natural gas pipeline didn’t reach these organizations, Tom would create a virtual pipeline called NG Advantage to reach them.

Conversations with the management teams of large stranded facilities revealed that facility managers had improved plant efficiently in every way they knew, there was simply nothing left to cut without effecting quality. Cutting their million-dollar energy costs to remain competitive with others in their industries that were lucky enough to be located on a pipeline was out of their reach—they were economically stranded.

At a time when every dollar counts, expensive and volatile fuel oil prices have a direct effect on the operating costs of hospitals and manufacturing facilities.  This is a particularly significant challenge for hospitals which are being asked to lower costs from all sides. These same facilities are simultaneously under pressure to lower their greenhouse gas emissions.  The challenge of meeting these two objectives is exceptionally difficult but Tom and his team found a solution.  If the natural gas pipeline didn’t reach these organizations, Tom would create a virtual pipeline called NG Advantage to reach them.

The solution worked.

The first NG Advantage customer began receiving fuel in March 2013, 20 large commercial customers in Vermont, New Hampshire, northern Massachusetts and upstate New York have since made the switch with NG Advantage.

As NG Advantage moved from an economics experiment to a proven concept it became apparent that other hospitals, paper mills, asphalt plants and manufacturing facilities across the country located away from the nation’s pipeline could benefit as well.  NG Advantage teamed up with Clean Energy to use its existing network of natural gas stations throughout North America to serve NG Advantage customers.

Click Here to see a graphic of the NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline and Click Here to speak to speak with someone to see if a virtual natural gas pipeline is right for your business or organization.