Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Additional Florida Natural Gas Pipeline Needed

NEW YORK, April 7 (Reuters) - Florida Power & Light Co said Tuesday it filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission for construction of a new underground natural gas pipeline in Florida to meet increasing demand for the clean fuel to generate electricity.

The proposed Florida EnergySecure pipeline, approximately 300 miles (480 km) in length, would be built in the eastern portion of the state from Palm Beach County in the south to Bradford County in the north.

The proposal calls for the new pipeline to enter service as early as 2014.

In a release, FPL said the line would increase the state's access to natural gas supplies, diversify sources of supply beyond offshore Gulf of Mexico to additional onshore sources, create thousands of new jobs and generate more than $400 million in additional property taxes across 14 counties.

"We are continuing to invest in diversifying our fuel sources through expansion of nuclear capacity and through new solar power generation, but natural gas is our most important source of fuel and an essential ingredient in a clean energy future for the state of Florida," said FPL President Armando J. Olivera.

FPL received more than 60 proposals as part of an extensive evaluation of options for its natural gas requirements.

The option to build a third pipeline was determined to provide the best combination of benefits for FPL customers, including cost effectiveness and security of supply, while helping to ensure a competitive environment among suppliers that benefits consumers through lower prices.

Based on the initial proposal, approximately 90 percent of the pipeline would use existing rights-of-way associated with utilities, roads or railroads.

FPL is planning a comprehensive public outreach process to obtain feedback about the route. This input will help the company make a final route selection.

Florida Power & Light, a unit of FPL Group (FPL.N: Quote, Profile, Research), is the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the United States, serving some 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida. (Reporting by Joe Silha; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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