Spectra Energy To Construct $3 Billion Pipeline Into Florida

November 2013, Vol. 68 No. 11

Spectra Energy Corp. announced that Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC, a joint venture of Spectra Energy and NextEra Energy, Inc., has been awarded a 465-mile interstate natural gas pipeline project by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) to begin service in May 2017.

Sabal Trail will invest about $3 billion to construct the pipeline, which will originate in southwestern Alabama and transport natural gas to Georgia and Florida. It will terminate at a new Central Florida Hub south of Orlando, where it will interconnect with the two existing natural gas pipelines that serve peninsular Florida.

The project, which would be the third major gas pipeline serving Florida, will include 465 miles of interstate natural gas pipeline (55 miles in Alabama, 196 miles in Georgia and 214 miles in Florida), capable of transporting more than 1 Bcf/d to serve local distribution companies, industrial users and power generators in the Southeast.

To connect with FPL's operations, Florida Southeast Connection will spend about $550 million to build 126 miles of separate pipeline from Sabal Trail's Central Florida Hub to FPL's Martin Clean Energy Center in Indiantown. It will initially be capable of transporting 400 MMcf/d from Sabal Trail's Central Florida Hub to FPL's Martin Clean Energy Center. The natural gas will be used to generate electricity for FPL's about 4.6 million customer accounts.

The pipeline will transport gas from several points in the U.S., including West Texas shale formations and wells in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, according to Spectra.

Permitting is underway for both projects, and construction is expected to begin in 2016 in order for operations to commence in 2017. As interstate natural gas pipelines both are subject to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval and oversight.

“Natural gas is vital to the reliability and affordability of electricity in our state. Although Florida has essentially no natural gas reserves, many areas of our country have a wealth of supply,” said FPL President Eric Silagy. “This project is not only about FPL and our customers – increasing access to clean, efficient, U.S.-produced natural gas will benefit the entire state.”

FPL’s economic analysis showed that these projects will save FPL customers nearly $600 million compared with the next closest proposal. The utility expects peak electricity demand in state to reach 25,724 mW in 2017, an increase of 20 percent over five years.