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.