Sabal Trail starts stagecoach line in an electric car world 2017-07-05

Let me fix some typos in Sabal Trail’s PR of yesterday, Sabal Trail Transmission Project Placed In-Service: New Pipeline System Increases the Reliability and Diversity of the Southeast U.S. Natural Gas Infrastructure.

Corrected headline: Sabal Trail starts stagecoach line in an electric car world.

Apologies to the 1877 Omaha Herald and True West.

Adding a third natural gas pipeline merely makes Florida even more than 60% dependant on natural gas, as Sierra Club Alabama, Georgia, and Florida pointed out three years ago. The people of Florida voted for solar power twice last year. Yet Sabal Trail is wasting $3 or $4 billion on an obsolete technology while taking people’s land, drilling under our rivers, and risking our drinking water in the Floridan Aquifer.

All the 2013 excuses for Sabal Trail were refuted by FPL itself last year in its 2016 Ten Year Plan: it turns out Florida needs no new electricity until 2024 at the earliest; the coal plants FPL named in 2013 have already been “modernized”; and even FPL now admits that solar power is viable, not to mention no pipeline can be as geographically diverse or resilient as distributed solar power.

In its request to FERC to go in service and in this PR, Sabal Trail adds a claim about “peak cooling season” demand. Yet because they’re shoving gas through the pipe, a stock analyst could compare measurements with the other two pipelines, FGT and Gulfstream, and determine what Sabal Trail is shipping is decreasing by the same amount the total through the other two pipelines.

All that is left is this in that PR, quoting Spectra Energy Partners President and Chairman Bill Yardley:

“With the completion of this project, Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy will realize needed firm natural gas transportation services to meet their power generation requirements.”

If FPL and Duke want to be left in the stagecoach dust while other utilties, states, and countries get on with conversion from fossil fuels to renewable sun and wind power, they shouldn’t be charging FPL ratepayers for their mistake, and they shouldn’t be risking our drinking water for it. Even Duke is building solar farms not only in North Carolina and South Carolina, but even in Suwannee County, Florida. Even FPL put solar panels at Daytona International Speedway.

Front gate

That Sabal Trail PR claims “400,000 dekatherms per day of firm transportation to Florida Power & Light” and “300,000 dekatherms of firm delivery” to Duke Energy in Citrus County. Yet FPL could have already bought and deployed enough solar panels to produce more power than that for less money.

Yardley also bragged:

“Sabal Trail has successfully navigated a rigorous environmental permitting process over the past four years while working with landowners and key stakeholders to construct this new pipeline system.”

Apparently “working with” means threatening with eminent domain, sticking landowners with attorney fees, and destroying fields for generations. Meanwhile, solar panels require no eminent domain, no fuel, no pipelines, produce no emissions, and use no heating or cooling water.

Sabal Trail’s PR says nothing about all those liquid natural gas (LNG) export operations right where this pipeline chain goes, in Citrus County next to Duke’s Crystal River power plant, in Martin County, and down Kinder Morgan’s FGT Jacksonville Expansion Project from Suwannee County to Jacksonville, where Eagle LNG is already sending LNG to Crowley Maritime’s Carib Energy for export.

Everyone needs to watch Sabal Trail like a hawk for sinkholes, leaks, and explosions.

Meanwhile, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that gave Sabal Trail federal eminent domain is down to 1 out of 5 Commissioners, with the most recent one out the door saying what she couldn’t before: “Bring on more renewables!”

Back in 2013, former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff predicted more U.S. electricity would come from solar power than any other source within a decade. And FERC’s own figures show that right on track, with solar power more than doubling deployed capacity every two years.

You can help keep FERC below a quorum by calling your Senators today and asking them to vote against approving any FERC nominees who do not vow to turn the agency to the sun.

We already know how to convert the electric grid by 2035 and everything, including transportation, to sun, wind, and water power by 2050.

Photo: Solar Power Rocks

The stagecoach era is over. It’s time for solar power for the Sunshine State!

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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