Tag Archives: Florida

State regulators clear way for Florida Power and Light natural gas pipeline

A proposed $3.5 billion natural gas pipeline took a leap forward last Thursday and by 2017 is expected to be providing fuel to run Florida Power and Light Co.’s plants.

Florida’s two pipelines, the Florida Gas Transmission pipeline, and Gulfstream pipeline deliver gas primarily from such offshore areas as the Gulf of Mexico.

The pipeline’s northern 465 miles is a joint venture of Houston-based Spectra Energy subsidiary Sabal Trail Transmission and a newly formed subsidiary of Florida Power and Light’s parent company, NextEra Energy Inc., called U.S. Southeastern Gas Infrastructure LLC. The southern 126 miles, known as Florida Southeast Connection, is a subsidiary of NextEra.

The pipeline will travel through four Alabama counties, eight Georgia counties and 13 Florida counties. It will end at Florida Power and Light’s Martin County plant near Indiantown. The new pipeline will connect to FPL’s new plants under construction in Riviera Beach and Hollywood.

Commissioner Eduardo Balbis said the pipeline will help mitigate supply interruptions and price fluctuations. It’s also a plus that the cost is $450 million below that of other options.

The project is projected to create more than 6,600 jobs.

Jeff Householder, president of Florida Public Utilities Co., said the additional gas supplies, especially the cheaper shale gas, are needed for the state’s growth and economic development. He expects his company and others will build lateral lines from the pipeline.

Florida Power and Light has signed agreements with the two entities that will own the new pipeline for an initial 400 million cubic feet per day beginning in 2017 with an option for an additional 200 million cubic feet in 2020 and later.

Florida Gas Transmission’s pipeline has a capacity of 3,100 million cubic feet per day, and Gulfstream’s pipeline has a capacity of 1,300 million cubic feet per day

The project approved Thursday differs from a proposal the PSC rejected in 2009 when Florida Power and Light sought to build the 280-mile Florida EnergySecure Line itself.

The pipeline must be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other federal and state agencies. It would give the state 25 percent more natural gas capacity.

SOURCE: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/business/state-regulators-clear-way-for-fpl-natural-gas-pip/nbXkw/

Florida’s St. Augustine Beach Pier Corroding

According to St. Johns County officials, the stretch of coastline from south Georgia to Fort Lauderdale is the most corrosive in the nation.

Evidence of the corrosion can be seen on the St. Augustine Beach pier, one that’s 25 years old and nearing the end of its lifespan.

Janice Vose, who spent her time under the pier Tuesday, said she had the best seat on the beach.

“It’s shady. There’s a breeze,” Vose said.

But what she didn’t know was she could have been in danger.

A few months ago, during a routine inspection, an engineering firm found the pier has problems, most visibly the corrosion on the pilings holding it up and cracks in the concrete.

Engineers advised the county to take action, so county officials installed netting under the pier to catch any falling debris and also posted warning and danger signs to be extra safe.

“A small chance, a remote chance that some concrete could spall off of the concrete structure portion due to the rebar rusting and cause a problem, so we put up the signs as a precautionary measure,” said Mike Rubin, St. Johns County director of construction.

Most people walk right under the pier without noticing the signs, but Rubin said it would take a big storm to knock down such a sturdy structure.

“If a failure were to come, it would be when the pier would be under maximum stress during a hurricane event or a big storm or big wave action, and there’d be no one on the pier at that time anyway,” Rubin said.

The 650-foot-long pier is supported by pilings up to 36 inches in diameter.

“Those metal pilings that you’re seeing are actually filled with concrete,” Rubin said. “There’s rebar in the top 10 feet of them, and while the concrete doesn’t really provide a lot of lateral structural strength, the real strength is in the pilings themselves.”

The big question is exactly how much the pilings have decayed over time. Until that’s answered, Vose said she’s staying put.

“I’m in paradise. I feel so grateful,” she said.

The county plans to have the engineering firm take a closer look to evaluate the extent of the damage, and then the board will decide what to do. A new pier is a possibility in St. Augustine’s future, but it would probably be about five years before one could be built.

SOURCE: http://www.news4jax.com/news/28884204/detail.html