It don’t pass the smell test: FPL’s extra natural gas pipeline –SpectraBusters

FPL wants federal eminent domain to gouge a hundred-foot right of way for a yard-wide fracked methane pipeline through Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, claiming Florida needs new power. That don’t pass the smell test.

Nationwide electricity demand continues to decline, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reminded the pipeline-permitting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in April. EPA asked FPL why it couldn’t implement conservation, efficiency, compressed gas storage, or other energy sources.

FPL projected 13% electricity demand increase in its 2014 ten-year plan to the Florida Public Service Commission (FL PSC). A third pipeline would be a 50% increase. Why?

Sabal Trail, the pipeline joint venture of FPL and Spectra Energy of Houston, claims Duke Energy needs the gas for Florida power plants. Yet Duke repeatedly has said it does not need Sabal Trail.

Sabal Trail’s own figures show just as much solar power would use half the acreage of that pipeline. While cold far-northern Germany is the world leader in solar power, the Sunshine State should be.

Distributed solar power is a disruptive challenge to the century-old baseload capacity business model, as Edison Electric Institute warned utilities in January 2013. UBS Warburg, the world’s largest private bank, in August 2014 called for its investing clients to “join the revolution” of distributed solar power. Wall Street analysts say utilities lacking serious solar and wind power face a “death spiral”.

FPL boasted to FERC (21 April 2014) it was “a strong supporter of solar power”. Yet FPL’s FL PSC filings show not a single megawatt solar increase from 2010 to 2013.

Instead, FPL just purchased an Oklahoma fracking subsidiary that its parent NextEra conveniently bought into back in 2010.

FERC Commissioner Tony Clark testified to Congress in December:

“The large amount of natural gas in the U.S. is also creating an impetus for something that was nearly unimaginable ten or fifteen year ago, LNG export….”

The U.S. DoE Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has already authorized three LNG export operations right at the Florida end of the proposed Transco -> Sabal Trail -> FSC pipeline chain. FE chief Paula Gant testified in March:

“Today, domestic natural gas prices are lower than international prices of delivered LNG to overseas markets. …demand for natural gas is growing rapidly in foreign markets. Due primarily to these developments, DOE has received a growing number of applications to export domestically produced natural gas to overseas markets in the form of LNG.”

Spectra’s CEO Greg Ebel has said he expects to export, and Spectra is already working on a pipeline through British Columbia (BC) to an LNG export terminal.

Transco owner Williams Company connects Spectra’s BC pipeline through Washington State to two LNG export terminals in Oregon.

Rather than deploying solar power in the Sunshine State, or conservation, efficiency, or storage, FPL’s pipeline would connect a fracked gas glut to huge profits overseas.

FERC’s rules say a public benefit has to outweigh environmental destruction and eminent domain property takings. LNG export profit for FPL and Spectra and Williams is not a public benefit.

Cities, counties, and states should protect their citizens from new pipelines through ordinances with legal force. FERC should deny a permit for Sabal Trail.

FPL’s pipeline just plain stinks.

–SpectraBusters, a citizen organization against the Sabal Trail pipeline and for solar power.

   Laura Dailey 386-497-2571 (FL),
   Garrett Kizer 859-420-3854 (AL),
   John S. Quarterman 229-242-0102 (GA),
This op-ed submission went to newspapers 9 October 2014.

PS 10 Oct 2014: Comment to FERC for the global Frackdown.

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