Florida Power & Light (FPL) said it may resurrect a $1.5 billion, 300-mile natural gas transmission pipeline project that state regulators rejected two years ago in a new version. However, a spokesperson told NGI the pipe project, which regulators previously rejected as uneconomic, is far from a sure thing.

“There’s nothing new,” he said, while confirming that informal discussions between the utility and state regulatory staff are ongoing regarding the need for additional gas pipeline capacity. The state’s leading power utility confirmed the need for more gas transportation capacity to feed new gas-fired generation plants that by the end of 2014 would represent 2,500 MW of additional combined-cycle baseload gas-fired generation capacity.

FPL’s previous project as a concept has reemerged as it prepares to release a request for proposals (RFP) from various potential suppliers for additional pipeline capacity. The power utility expects to submit the results of any RFP eventually to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), which rejected FPL’s previous pipeline project in October 2009 (see Daily GPI, Oct. 7, 2009).

There are ongoing informal discussions on the RFP with the PSC staff, the FPL spokesperson said Tuesday.

Earlier in 2009 FPL proposed to construct a 300-mile intrastate pipeline to move gas north to Bradford County from Palm Beach County. The new line was to be in service during 2014 (see Daily GPI, April 8, 2009).

While the issue of additional gas pipeline capacity has gone at least partially unresolved these past two years, FPL has moved ahead with demolition of its Cape Canaveral and Riviera Beach oil/gas dual-fueled generation plants and has begun construction of a state-of-the-art natural gas-fired power facilities, each with 1,250 MW capacities. FPL said the Cape Canaveral plant is slated to begin operation in 2013, and the Riviera Beach facility will begin operating the following year.

Earlier this year Florida Gas Transmission opened its $2.48 billion, 483-mile gas transmission pipeline from Mobile Bay, AL, to Martin County in Florida, adding 820 MMcf/d of capacity, about half of which was taken by FPL.

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