NextEra Energy Inc. has received federal approval to construct and operate a proposed underground pipeline to transport natural gas to southern Florida. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted a “Certificate of Public Need and Necessity” for the Florida Southeast Connection LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy, according to a Feb. 3 company statement.
The estimated $550 million Florida Southeast Connection pipeline help Florida maintain access to clean, affordable U.S.-produced natural gas to meet the state’s growing electricity needs. The approval provides the company with authorization, subject to certain conditions, to prepare for construction, which is expected to begin this spring.
“This is a major milestone for an important infrastructure project that will help meet the growing energy needs of South Floridians for generations to come,” said Michael DeBock, executive director of gas infrastructure for NextEra Energy.
The pipeline would interconnect with the two existing systems in Central Florida and a new interstate pipeline expected to be built and operated by Sabal Trail Transmission LLC. The Sabal Trail pipeline would originate in Alabama to access the abundant natural gas reserves in various regions of the United States. It would terminate at a new Central Florida Hub south of Orlando. Sabal Trail is a joint venture of Spectra Energy Partners LP, NextEra Energy and Duke Energy.
The Florida Southeast Connection pipeline route originates in Osceola County and runs 126 miles south and east, terminating at the FPL Martin Clean Energy Center in Indiantown, Fla. The company expects FERC to issue a Notice to Proceed with Construction this spring. Construction of the underground pipeline and associated facilities is expected to take approximately one year. It is scheduled to enter service in 2017.
More than 60 percent of the electricity used by Floridians is generated by natural gas, making it the leading fuel for energy generation in the state. Florida is currently served by only two major pipeline systems, and both are nearing full capacity.
The new pipeline would help enable power generators such as Florida Power & Light Co. to continue to access America’s abundant supply of clean natural gas to power Florida homes and businesses. In addition, natural gas is also vital for local gas distribution companies that serve industrial, commercial and residential customers throughout the Sunshine State.Tags: Florida Southeast Connection, NextEra Energy Inc.