300-mile gas pipeline to run through Brevard
BY JIM WAYMER
Florida Power & Light Co. plans a $1.5 billion, 300-mile natural gas pipeline that includes a 13-mile leg across North Brevard County to fuel a new cleaner Port St. John power plant by 2014.
The proposed Florida EnergySecure Line would run from Palm Beach County to Bradford County, passing just west of Brevard.
One leg would run east from the main pipeline into Brevard, just north of State Road 520, then jog north to State Road 528. Just north of S.R. 528, the pipeline would head east again, then turn north to the planned Next Generation Clean Energy Center in Port St. John, expected to be operational in 2013.
About two-thirds of the natural gas from the pipeline would be used by the Port St. John power plant and the Riviera Beach power plant in Palm Beach. Both plants will be converted from heavy fuel oil to natural gas plants to reduce air pollution.
The new pipeline should create about 7,500 jobs, including 3,500 in construction, as well as providing $400 million in additional property taxes across 14 counties, FPL says.
“Based on an economic impact analysis, we estimate that Brevard County would benefit from $24 million in new property tax revenues from this project,” FPL spokeswoman Jackie Anderson said via e-mail.
The proposal calls for the Florida EnergySecure Line to be complete as early as 2014.
First, the pipeline needs approval from the Florida Public Service Commission.
FPL would also have to get permits from federal, state and local agencies and gather input from the communities along the pipeline corridor, Anderson said.
About 90 percent of the pipeline would use existing rights-of-ways of utilities, roads or railroads. FPL plans a public outreach process to get feedback about the route to help make a final route selection.
Last month, the Consumer Federation of the Southeast, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, called for Florida’s major power plants to build new infrastructure such as storage tanks to hold natural gas in reserve to ensure a reliable electric system. They also want more solar power in Florida.
“It’s just like diversifying your investment portfolio,” Dartland, the group’s executive director, said.
All of Florida’s natural gas is imported, most from only two pipelines. One goes under the Gulf of Mexico.
FPL reviewed more than 60 proposals and found the new pipeline is the best way to meet future natural gas needs.
“The more pipeline infrastructure that we have coming into the state, the less chance of disruption in the event of an emergency,” Anderson said.
The pipeline would tap natural gas from Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, instead of the Gulf of Mexico, unlike the other two major natural gas pipelines serving Florida, Anderson added.
“This will lessen the risk of the natural gas coming into Florida being vulnerable in the event of hurricanes and tropical storms,” she said.