Duke Energy doesn’t care whether Sabal Trail pipeline is ever built

Raining on Spectra’s pipeline parade, Duke Energy’s Citrus County power plant open house once again emphasized Duke doesn’t care if Spectra and FPL’s fracked methane pipeline is ever built. And it’s not just because of Duke’s power plant that natural gas prices may go up soon: Sabal Trail feeding methane to already-authorized LNG export operations in Florida would also push prices up. So why build that useless Sabal Trail boondoggle? Why build that Duke gas plant, for that matter; why not go straight to solar power in the Sunshine State?

Fred Hiers wrote for Ocala.com 14 July 2014, Utility will build plant with or without new pipeline,

If Duke Energy gets the regulatory approval it needs to build a natural gas plant in Citrus County, the energy company will do so regardless of whether a new proposed gas pipe line is allowed to cut across Florida. Another certainty is that customer utility prices will increase as soon as the plant is fired up.

Nearly 300 people came to a recent open house in Crystal River hosted by Duke Energy, with 40 company representatives and consultants on hand to answer questions.

Mark Landseidel, general manager of Duke’s major energy projects, said during the event that Duke wants Sabal Trail Transmission LLC to build a 24-mile-long offshoot pipeline to carry fuel to the proposed Citrus County natural gas plant. But, he said, there are two other accessible natural gas pipelines and Duke would go forward regardless of whether Sabal builds its new pipeline.

This is the second time Duke has said it doesn’t need Sabal Trail; the first was in May in Duke’s filing with the Florida Public Service Commission.

And if Duke doesn’t want it, Andrea Grover’s recent newspaper chanting for Sabal Trail looks even more desperate.

Which other pipelines would Duke use?

The two other natural gas lines close enough to extend to Duke’s 400-acre proposed plant site belong to Florida Gas Transmission and Gulfstream Natural Gas System, Landseidel said.

The Sabal pipeline project is projected to cover about 460 miles and be capable of delivering up to 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day from central Alabama to Florida Power & Light’s plant in South Florida. Many are objecting to the pipeline, saying the buried structure would be dangerous and potentially do environmental damage.

Indeed, the same day of that Duke meeting, many from Florida drove half a dozen hours to Leesburg, GA to object to Sabal Trail trying to get an injunction against landowners. Florida Sierra Club already summed up the case against the pipeline and Greenlaw just filed air quality objections with the Georgia PSC about the proposed Albany compressor station.

Sabal may build a 24-inch wide offshoot pipe, off its 36-inch diameter pipeline, through western Marion County, near Dunnellon, for Duke’s new plant.

If Duke doesn’t care if it gets the methane, why build the Citrus County pipeline? Why build the Dunnellon compressor station it would connect to? Why build the Sabal Trail pipeline, for that matter?

The newspaper article didn’t mention the three already-authorized LNG export operations right where Sabal Trail leads in Florida. That export would also run up the price of natural gas.

So why build that pipeline? Florida ratepayers would end up paying more for something they don’t need,

and Florida, Georgia, and Alabama landowners would have to give up land to profit companies in Houston, Texas and Juno Beach, Florida, while local and state taxpayers would be on the hook for any serious leaks, explosions, or just plain air and water pollution.

Remember, Sabal Trail’s own numbers say it would take half the acreage of that pipeline for solar panels to produce just as much power. With no eminent domain, no explosions, no leaks, and jobs and lower electric bills right where they’re needed. Imagine if the $3 billion FPL wants to waste on that pipeline were spent on solar power instead!

No pipeline. Go solar!

-jsq

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