FPL is currently investing to modernize three old, oil and gas-fired power plants into high-efficiency natural gas energy centers that will be approximately 33 percent more efficient and 90 percent cleaner than the facilities they replace. The three new plants being built are projected to effectively pay for themselves over their operational lifetimes with more than $1 billion in net customer savings compared with any other available generation options to meet future needs. The net customer savings reflect the expected savings from the plants' advanced fuel efficiency. FPL believes a new pipeline is the best option to fuel these and FPL's existing natural gas plants in the near future as the electricity needs of FPL's customers grow.
The proposed new "Southeast Pipeline" will provide 400,000 MMBtu per day, or approximately 400 million cubic feet per day, of natural gas capacity for FPL beginning in 2017, increasing in capacity in future years. It will be composed of two segments:
- The "Florida Interstate Connection" and "Central Florida Hub" comprise the upstream pipeline project, which will originate at an existing hub in western Alabama, run east and then south, ending at a new hub to be built in Central Florida that will allow the new pipeline to interconnect with Florida's existing pipeline systems.
- The "Florida Southeast Connection" is the downstream pipeline project, which will originate at the new Central Florida Hub and connect with FPL's system in Martin County, Fla.
Approximately four-fifths of the roughly 700-mile distance from western Alabama to FPL's Martin County plant would be covered by the upstream Florida Interstate Connection segment with the other one-fifth covered by the downstream Florida Southeast Connection segment. Interested companies can bid on one or both of the segments. The specific routes will be selected and proposed by companies submitting bids. FPL will oversee a fair, competitive RFP evaluation process that will select the best option or options for FPL customers.
As part of the evaluation process, FPL plans to consider a self-build alternative for the downstream Florida Southeast Connection segment. The self-build alternative, if found to be in the best interest of FPL customers, would be owned and operated by a NextEra Energy, Inc. company. No consideration is being given to an FPL self-build alternative for the upstream Florida Interstate Connection and Central Florida Hub portion. However, the cost to build a pipeline project of this size will be substantial, and the completion schedule is critical. To facilitate timely construction, NextEra Energy will be prepared to discuss financial involvement in support of a selected option. FPL customers would not provide funding nor see their bills impacted by this in any way.