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Florida Power Proposes 300-Mile Intrastate Gas Pipeline

Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) said last week it wants to construct a 300-mile intrastate natural gas pipeline to move gas north to Bradford County from Palm Beach County. The proposal, which was filed with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), said the pipeline could be in service as early as 2014.

About two-thirds of the natural gas capacity of the proposed Florida EnergySecure Line would be used by the FPL Next Generation Clean Energy Centers at Cape Canaveral and Riviera Beach, where existing facilities are being retrofitted to burn natural gas instead of fuel oil to reduce emissions. The remaining capacity would allow for a reserve margin to deliver fuel to FPL or others in the state, the utility said. Costs for the project were not disclosed.

"We are continuing to invest in diversifying our fuel sources through expansion of nuclear capacity and through new solar power generation, but natural gas is our most important source of fuel and an essential ingredient in a clean energy future for the state of Florida," said FPL CEO Armando J. Olivera. "Because of this, we must take the appropriate steps necessary to diversify and protect our natural gas supply, in the same way we are investing in our electrical infrastructure to ensure we can continue to deliver affordable, reliable, clean energy in the decades ahead."

FPL said the pipeline would:

FPL, which serves 4.5 million customers in the state and is the top employer with nearly 11,000 workers, said it received more than 60 proposals in an evaluation of "appropriate options" to meet customer gas requirements. "The option for building a third pipeline was determined to provide the best combination of benefits for FPL customers, including cost effectiveness and security of supply, while helping to ensure a competitive environment among suppliers that benefits consumers through lower prices," FPL said.

Construction of the pipeline is expected to yield operating savings ranging from $200 million to $500 million when compared to alternatives for meeting customer demand over a 40-year pipeline lifespan, the company said.

Based on the initial proposal, 90% of the pipeline would use existing rights-of-way associated with utilities, roads or railroads. FPL said it will gather public input before making a final route decision.

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