- Federal regulators have approved plans for the Florida Southeast Connection pipeline, a project backed by NextEra Energy and designed to move much-needed gas supplies into south Florida, Smart Grid News reports.
- The $550 million project will interconnect with two existing systems in the central region of the state, as well as a proposed interstate line expected to be built and operated by Sabal Trail Transmission LLC.
- Construction could begin this spring, with work on the 126-mile line completed by 2017.
Almost 90% of new generation in Florida is gas-fired, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the two major pipelines in the state are nearing full capacity.
Now, another pipeline, Sabal Trail Transmission, has been proposed, and this week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Florida Southeast Connection project.
"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," Michael DeBock, executive director of gas infrastructure for NextEra Energy, said in a statement. NextEra owns Florida Southeast Connection LLC, which would operate the 126-mile system.
More than 60% of the electricity used by Florida comes from natural gas, NextEra said.
Florida power providers, eager to secure gas supplies at low prices, are pushing into gas production as well as transport. In 2014, Florida Power & Light got approval — the first in the nation — from state regulators to invest in natural gas production in Oklahoma, but so far the returns have been far below what was promised.