Brief

Sabal Trail gas pipeline gets FERC nod to start deliveries to Florida utilities

Dive Brief:

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has authorized the 515-mile Sabal Trail Pipeline to begin delivering gas on a portion of the line to utilities in Florida, Platts reports. The letter order made no mention of a lawsuit filed by environmentalists seeking to halt the project.
  • The pipeline will serve Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy of Florida, and is expected online by the end of the month.
  • The Sierra Club and two other environmental groups filed a lawsuit last year challenging federal regulators' decision to approve the $3.2 billion project, arguing they failed to adequately assess climate impacts and alternate routes that would have less of an disruption. 

Dive Insight:

An FPL spokesman said the project is expected online this week after almost a year of construction, according to The Palm Beach Post. The project totaled $4 billion and was developed by a consortium including Spectra, NextEra Energy and Duke Energy. 

 

The pipeline will move about 1.1 billion cubic feet of gas through Alabama and Georgia to power plants in Florida. Platts notes that Sabal Trail is one of three pipeline projects that, together, are dubbed the Southeast Market Pipelines Project and include almost 700 miles of pipeline aiming to feed gas demand in the state.

FERC's June 9 letter order authorized Sabal Trail Transmission to begin operating more than 480 miles of the system, between the northern interconnect in Tallapoosa County, AL, and the southern interconnect in
Osceola County, FL. The authorization also included two compressor stations and three metering and regulatory stations.

Construction includes approximately 21 miles of pipeline in Florida's Marion and Citrus counties to a new electric generation plant by Duke Energy Florida.

The groups suing to halt the project claim FERC failed to closely analyze the climate impacts of the project, and also failed to adequately analyze alternate routes that would have less impacts on the environment and communities of color. They say the line will move gas across 699 bodies of water, harm 1,958 wetland systems and extend across an area that provides drinking water to approximately 10 million people.

After authorizing the project last year, the Army Corps of Engineers added some caveats including requiring developers to purchase credits offsetting wetlands impacts.

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