Spectra Energy To Construct $3 Billion Pipeline Into Florida

November 2013, Vol. 68 No. 11

Meeting gas needs
Florida uses more natural gas to generate electricity than any state except Texas, but it has minimal production, no storage capabilities and only two major pipeline systems available to transport natural gas to the peninsula.

With the two existing major gas pipelines nearing full capacity Florida’s economy is projected to require additional electricity – and, consequently, more natural gas – in the near future. FPL, the state's largest electric utility and largest natural gas user, will be an anchor customer for the new pipelines. The proposed route of the new system will maximize access to all of Florida's major natural gas users.

“Natural gas, especially when used in combination with solar energy, generates far fewer emissions than coal or oil,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon of Florida. “Audubon provided guidance on the proposed pipeline route, and we commend FPL for working to avoid sensitive habitats.”

The new pipeline system will expand the state's access to additional sources of natural gas throughout the U.S. This will help reduce the state's reliance on offshore sources and lessen its vulnerability to fuel supply interruptions that can occur in the Gulf of Mexico region during severe tropical weather.

“Like a highway interchange connects intersecting roads, the new system's Central Florida Hub will link the state's major natural gas transportation infrastructure. This will effectively increase our state's energy security and reliability by introducing important flexibility in the event that the supply of one of the existing pipelines is interrupted,” Silagy said.

In Florida, the projects will create an estimated 8,600 direct and indirect jobs during construction and generate more than $1.1 billion in new tax revenue for local schools and governments over 60 years.

Over the past decade, Florida Power & Light (FPL) has reduced its use of oil by 98 percent by investing in new, highly efficient power plants that use U.S.-produced natural gas as a fuel to produce electricity. In 2001, FPL used more than 40 MMbbl of oil to power customers; in 2012, the company will use less than 1 MMbbl.

Meanwhile, FPL began operations at a new natural gas plant in Cape Canaveral and expects to add power plants in Rivera Beach and Port Everglades during the next few years. But Duke Energy has pulled the plug on its proposed Levy nuclear reactor project in the state. It would have taken the place of the defunct Crystal River nuclear plant.