Florida is one of the top states when it comes to natural gas consumption, but according to energy industry officials, much of the gas the state uses is stored elsewhere. To address that issue, Florida Power and Light is planning a 600-mile pipeline to bring more natural gas into the state.
The pipeline would run from Southwest Alabama, through Georgia and down to Central and South Florida. Florida Power and Light’s Micheal DeBock says its construction will help boost the state’s storage capacity.
“We’ll see over 8,600 jobs created to support construction. We’ll see over $1 billion in tax revenue to our local schools and government. We’ll see a diversified infrastructure in Florida that will allow Florida to position itself and for future businesses to have a reliable and redundant source of natural gas transportation in this state," he told attendees during an energy summit in Orlando Monday.
FP&L’s pipeline would join two others already in the state. The Florida Public Service Commission is scheduled to vote Oct. 24 on the project. PSC staff have recommended the commission approve the $3.5 billion project. FP &L officials say it’s expected to be up and running by mid-2017.
Meanwhile Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is backing the pipeline effort. Putnam says the project is critical to the state's energy future.
Putnam says the addition of a third pipeline, like the one proposed by Florida Power and Light, would add greater security to Florida’s energy sector:
“If you had a pipeline rupture or come out of service for any reason it would have a dramatic effect on Florida," he said. "Because we’ve become so dependent on natural gas. We’re the second most dependent state in the country.”
The Commissioner is also calling on an analysis of Florida's reliance on natural gas, noting 60 percent of the state's electricity is produced by it.