Dominion Asks FERC To Begin Environmental Review Of Atlantic Coast Pipeline
RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion (NYSE: D), on behalf of its joint venture partners in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, today submitted a request to begin the pre-filing process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking the commission to begin its environmental review of the proposed $4.5 billion to $5 billion, 550-mile natural gas pipeline.
Four major U.S. energy companies – Dominion, Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) and AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) – plan to build and own the pipeline, which would run from Harrison County, W.Va., southeast through Virginia with an extension to Chesapeake, Va., and then south through eastern North Carolina to Robeson County. The pipeline would help meet the growing clean energy needs of Virginia and North Carolina by providing direct access to the burgeoning natural gas production in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
"The broad and enthusiastic support we have received since announcing the project last month is further evidence of how important the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is to the future of the region," said Diane Leopold, president of the company's Dominion Energy business unit. "Along with creating thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in new tax revenues for states and localities, it can act as a catalyst for future economic development, help stabilize energy prices for consumers and businesses, and promote cleaner air."
Govs. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia and Pat McCrory of North Carolina each talked about the economic growth and jobs that are expected to occur along the pipeline when the project was announced Sept. 2. More than 30 federal, state, and local elected officials, and chamber of commerce or economic development groups have provided letters of support or passed resolutions in favor of the project. In addition, more than 5,500 letters of support have been received by elected officials in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.
A study by Chmura Economics & Analytics estimates that the project can generate a total of $2.7 billion in economic impact from 2014 through 2019 in the three-state region, supporting 17,240 cumulative jobs.
The project also promises significant environmental benefits. Much of the natural gas to be transported by the pipeline will replace coal in the generation of electricity — a transition that's already well under way in both Virginia and North Carolina as older, less efficient coal units are retired. Natural gas burns cleaner than coal and emits about half the carbon dioxide.
From 2008 to 2013, demand for gas-fired electric power generation grew by 459 percent in North Carolina and 123 percent in Virginia. The U.S. Energy Information Administration's 2014 Annual Energy Outlook reported that overall, demand for natural gas for all uses grew by 50 and 37 percent in North Carolina and Virginia, respectively, between 2008 and 2012.
The extensive FERC review process that begins with pre-filing solicits input from numerous local, state and federal entities, and private citizens. Public safety, air quality, water resources, geology, soils, wildlife and vegetation, threatened and endangered species, land and visual resources, cultural and historic resources, noise, cumulative impacts and reasonable alternatives are fully examined. The project will need the approvals of 40 federal, state and local regulatory agencies before construction can begin.
"This is the formal beginning of a comprehensive and detailed review process by the FERC and other agencies that will examine this project from every angle," Leopold said. "It is an open process with many opportunities for participation by the public."
In the pre-filing request to the FERC, Dominion noted it has begun a wide-ranging outreach and education program for stakeholders. So far, the program has included 13 informational open houses along the route attended by more than 3,600 people. Additional open houses will be scheduled for January 2015, followed by FERC-led scoping meetings shortly thereafter.
Informational packets also will be mailed to about 5,500 property owners along the proposed pipeline route and within a half-mile of potential compressor station locations.
Dominion is surveying to determine the best route, one that meets operational and reliability needs while minimizing the impact on the environment as well as historical and cultural resources.
The company expects to file its FERC application next summer, receive the FERC Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity in the summer of 2016 and begin construction shortly thereafter. The pipeline is expected to be in service by late 2018.
The main pipeline would have a 42-inch diameter in West Virginia and Virginia, reducing to 36 inches in diameter in North Carolina. Virginia and North Carolina have limited access to supplies from the Marcellus and Utica shales and have a need for increased infrastructure to support growing demand for natural gas-fired generation, and to add supply diversity for reliability and price stability.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 23,600 megawatts of generation, 10,900 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,400 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems with 947 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves utility and retail energy customers in 10 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.
About Duke Energy
Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with approximately $115 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.2 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international energy business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.
Media contact: Dave Scanzoni, (800) 559-3853
Investor contact: Bill Currens, (704) 382-1603
About Piedmont Natural Gas
Piedmont Natural Gas is an energy services company primarily engaged in the distribution of natural gas to more than one million residential, commercial, industrial and power generation utility customers in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including customers served by municipalities who are wholesale customers. Our subsidiaries are invested in joint venture, energy-related businesses, including unregulated retail natural gas marketing, and regulated interstate natural gas transportation and storage, and regulated intrastate natural gas transportation businesses. More information about Piedmont Natural Gas is available on the Internet at http://www.piedmontng.com/.
About AGL Resources
AGL Resources is an Atlanta-based energy services holding company with operations in natural gas distribution, retail operations, wholesale services and midstream operations. AGL Resources serves approximately 4.5 million utility customers through its regulated distribution subsidiaries in seven states. The company also serves approximately 630,000 retail energy customers and approximately 1.2 million customer service contracts through its SouthStar Energy Services joint venture and Pivotal Home Solutions, which market natural gas and related home services. Other non-utility businesses include asset management for natural gas wholesale customers through Sequent Energy Management and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. AGL Resources is a member of the S&P 500 Index. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.
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