Infrastructure Advantages in Florida
Florida meets present demands and future needs with a diversity of fuel sources.
FPL, which already has nuclear facilities at Hutchinson Island near Fort Pierce and at Turkey Point on Biscayne Bay south of Miami, is moving ahead with plans to build two more nuclear plants at Turkey Point. Construction on Progress Energy’s proposed new nuclear facility in Levy County has been delayed pending further environmental impact review.
At present, 39% of Florida’s electric generating capacity comes from natural gas; however, that figure is expected to jump to 54% by 2017. Four main underground pipelines — Florida Gas Transmission, Gulfstream Pipeline, Southern Natural Gas Pipeline and Southern Pipeline — currently supply the necessary natural gas, and more are on the way:
- Florida Gas Transmission’s $2.45-million project to add 483.2 miles of pipe through Mississippi, Alabama and Florida is in the permitting stage, says John Barnett, spokesperson for Panhandle Energy, which owns FGT. “We hope to begin construction the beginning of 2010 and have the project completed by 2011.”
- FPL has proposed to build its own pipeline. If all goes according to plan, the $1.5-billion project would run from Bradford County in Florida’s North Central region to Martin County in the Southeast, with two lateral lines that would connect to FPL’s Cape Canaveral Next Generation Clean Energy Center in Brevard County and Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center in Palm Beach County.
Plans to pipe in greater amounts of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are on hold. David Rogers, executive director of the Florida Natural Gas Association, explains that the “LNG projects have been moved back because natural gas prices have come down in recent months making LNG more expensive than piped natural gas.” The good news, he adds, is “that additional supplies of natural gas are coming in because of increased production, expansion of existing pipes and increased capacity.
Electric energy from TECO’s Bayside Power Station is fueled by natural gas.? [Photo: TECO]
A $1.3-billion clean-air project is also under way at Progress Energy’s Crystal River Energy Complex.
Boosting Infrastructure with Stimulus Funds
“Florida is one of a handful of states that has received initial approval of federal stimulus funds for its infrastructure,” says Don Winstead, special advisor to the governor for the implementation of the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Among other things, the state will receive $126 million for a state energy plan and $168 million for energy efficiencies block programs for cities and counties.
“The stimulus money comes at a critical time,” says Winstead. Without federal support in these uncertain economic times, he adds, “a lot of these projects would not have happened or would happen at a much later date. The funds represent an important investment in infrastructure that will also create thousands of jobs.”