Make us your home page
Instagram

Florida PSC approves third major natural gas pipeline

PSC official Julie Brown says the project is badly needed.

PSC official Julie Brown says the project is badly needed.

State regulators approved the construction of a third major natural gas pipeline Thursday that will increase Florida's capacity by 20 percent at a cost of $3 billion.

The unanimous vote by the five-member state Public Service Commission clears the first of two major hurdles for the new system that is projected to come on line in 2017.

"The need for this project is indisputable at this time," said Commissioner Julie Brown.

Added Commissioner Eduardo Balbis: "I believe this is a good project. Having a third pipeline coming into the state, we're going to mitigate interruption. We have two existing pipelines at or near capacity."

The project still must receive approval by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The new pipeline, which would run from Alabama through the heart of the Florida peninsula, would enable the state to tap more of the nation's growing shale gas sources.

In July, Florida Power & Light, which proposed the project, picked Houston-based Spectra Energy to build the new pipeline. Other natural gas users such as Duke Energy Florida and Tampa Electric also could tap the new pipeline.

FPL says the current capacity is fully contracted and the new line is needed to accommodate the growing demand in the state for natural gas.

FPL opened a 1,250-megawatt natural gas plant in Cape Canaveral in June and is constructing two identical plants in Riviera Beach and Port Everglades.

"Today was an important, positive step forward," said Sarah Gatewood, an FPL spokeswoman. She said the federal review will prove more complex as work to identify the exact corridor for the pipeline continues.

Duke Energy wants to construct a 1,600-megawatt natural gas plant by mid 2018 to replace the broken, shuttered Crystal River nuclear plant. Duke also wants to build another natural gas facility by mid 2020.

Almost 68 percent of the state's electric generation in 2012 came from natural gas.

Florida receives most of its natural gas from two pipeline companies, Florida Gas Transmission, whose line runs across the Panhandle down to Miami-Dade County, and Gulfstream Natural Gas, whose line flows from Mobile Bay, Ala., across the Gulf of Mexico, to Manatee County.

In addition to adding 465 miles of new interstate pipeline, the project also would connect the new line, called the Sabal Trail Transmission, to the other two major lines. Florida Gas Transmission and Gulfstream currently are not connected.

NextEra Energy, FPL's parent company, plans to spend $550 million to connect all three major lines.

The public can review proposed routes for the pipeline projects during open houses scheduled in November for the connection project and in December for the new Sabal Trail Transmission line.

Ivan Penn can be reached at ipenn@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2332.

Florida PSC approves third major natural gas pipeline 10/24/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 24, 2013 10:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]