Today, there are two major pipeline systems that provide natural gas to central and southern Florida: Gulfstream Natural Gas System and Florida Gas Transmission. These two pipeline systems currently can deliver a total of approximately 4.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.
More than 60 percent of this natural gas supply, or more than 1 trillion cubic feet in 2011, is dedicated to serving electric generation needs in Florida. FPL alone has contracted for more than 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day solely for the purpose of generating electrical power. The Sunshine State follows only Texas in its usage of natural gas to generate electricity — yet Texas has abundant natural gas reserves and is served by numerous interstate pipelines.
Not only is natural gas critical for electric generation in Florida, it is also vital for local gas distribution companies that serve industrial, commercial, and residential customers. Fifty-nine of Florida’s 67 counties have natural gas service available for these customers. Access to reliable and inexpensive natural gas directly impacts the bottom line of industrial and commercial customers and enhances Florida’s economic success. For example, the hospitality industry relies heavily on natural gas so hotel and restaurant businesses can efficiently serve the many visitors to our state.
Natural gas is a leading electricity fuel source in the Sunshine State. Approximately 68 percent of the electricity Floridians use is generated by natural gas power plants. Natural gas has many advantages: it’s the cleanest fossil fuel, abundantly available in the U.S. and far more affordable than imported oil.
To continue providing its customers with clean, affordable energy, Florida Power & Light Company has made key investments to improve overall reliability and manage costs. In addition to FPL’s growing system-wide demand for natural gas, FPL has been modernizing older, oil-fired plants into highly efficient natural gas power plants. These new facilities are 33 to 35 percent more fuel-efficient than the older oil-burning plants they replace and 90 percent cleaner.
To meet the state’s growing natural gas needs, FPL issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new, independently routed pipeline system to bring additional natural gas into Florida. After a fair, competitive evaluation process, FPL determined that the best, most economical solution to meet its need for additional natural gas transportation is a combination of a natural gas pipeline and interconnection hub to be built by Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC, and a second natural gas pipeline to be built by Florida Southeast Connection, LLC.