You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

breaking news

PBSO probes Lake Worth fight involving ‘Cash me Ousside’ teen

Editorial: FPL’s 2013 pipeline looks better than FPL’s 2009 pipeline


In 2009, the Florida Public Service Commission rejected Florida Power & Light’s proposed $1.5 billion natural gas pipeline. This year, FPL is requesting a $3.5 billion pipeline project. Why does FPL think that this time will be different?

For starters, an FPL spokesman says, this actually is a cheaper pipeline from a customer standpoint. The commission rejected the 2009 project because it was deemed not to be the most cost-effective method of delivering gas. According to FPL, transportation costs of the new project are lower. Customers would pay those transportation costs, not for construction.

This project is different in other ways. FPL would have owned the pipeline proposed four years ago, running from northern Florida to FPL’s Martin County plant in Indiantown. Most of the new pipeline would be a joint venture between Spectra Energy of Houston and NextEra Energy, FPL’s Juno Beach-based parent company. They would spend $3 billion on the section between a pipeline hub in Alabama and Osceola County, south of Orlando. A NextEra subsidiary would build the $550 million link from there to the Indiantown plant, from which FPL would distribute the gas.

Finally, FPL and all Florida utilities have become even more dependent on natural gas than they were four years ago. By 2016, FPL will have converted three major generating plants — in Brevard County, Riviera Beach and Broward County — from oil to natural gas. The company projects that roughly two-thirds of its power then will come from natural gas.

Such a change requires more capacity to import the gas, since Florida produces almost none of it. FPL argues that Florida’s two existing natural gas pipelines are at capacity or will be there soon. At the start, FPL would use about half of the longer pipeline’s capacity. Only Texas uses more natural gas to generate electricity than Florida.

Still another reason, one that FPL doesn’t acknowledge, is that the current Public Service Commission has been friendly to the company. In December the PSC agreed to settle a rate case on terms that the company had drawn up, which was an unprecedented move and drew a legal challenge from the Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers. FPL wants an answer on the pipeline by the end of 2013. Two seats on the five-member commission come open this year, but no new commissioners would take over until 2014.

Florida’s switch to natural gas has brought many benefits. The boom in production, due in large part to the controversial practice of fracking, has driven down prices. Natural gas also burns cleaner than oil and much cleaner than coal, thus reducing emissions of greenhouses gases that cause global warming. The Public Service Commission has been steering FPL and other utilities toward this switch for nearly a decade. Barring a persuasive argument that the pipeline would be a burden to consumers, FPL’s case is stronger than it was four years ago.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Palm Beach Post editorial cartoon Feb. 27
Palm Beach Post editorial cartoon Feb. 27

CARTOON VIEW SCOTT STANTIS
Why the GOP really hates Obamacare

Across the country, Republicans have been facing crowds demanding to know how they will protect the 20 million Americans who gained health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act, and will lose it if the act is repealed. And after all that inveighing against the evils of Obamacare, it turns out that they’ve got nothing. Instead, they&rsquo...
LETTERS: Shame on lawmakers who support PIP

Regarding personal injury protection (PIP), another nightmare story to consider: You are involved in a not-at-fault accident with a pedestrian. The police investigation determines the pedestrian is 100 percent at fault and has issued a citation. However, the pedestrian does not own an auto and does not live in a house where any other family member...
Mona Charen: What’s up with rape in Sweden?
Mona Charen: What’s up with rape in Sweden?

President Donald Trump was more right than wrong about Sweden. Fox News was slightly misleading. Fox News and, more particularly, certain right-wing websites have been conjuring the “Idyllic Sweden destroyed by Muslim refugees” line, complete with “no go” zones, Sharia law and terror attacks. That’s an exaggeration, but...
POINT OF VIEW Ride-booking legislation strikes the right balance

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) applauds state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and state Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Clearwater, for pushing forward with both Senate Bill 340 and House Bill 221 this session to protect Floridians. The number of Floridians using transportation network companies (TNC), such as Uber or Lyft,...
More Stories