Transco approved for gas line to Brunswick County power plant

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Nov. 21 issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Transcontinental Pipe Line Co. LLC (Transco) for the Virginia Southside Expansion Project, which would in part serve an in-construction power plant in Virginia.

In December 2012, Transco filed this application to construct and operate: an approximately 91-mile-long, 24-inch diameter pipeline adjacent to its existing Southern Virginia Lateral “A”; approximately seven miles of 24-inch diameter greenfield pipeline; a compressor station; and related facilities in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Transco estimated that these proposed facilities will cost approximately $298m.

The project will enable Transco to provide 270,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of incremental firm transportation service to Virginia Power Services Energy Corp. and Piedmont Natural Gas Co. The project includes an approval to:

  • construct an approximately 91-mile-long, 24-inch-diameter pipeline adjacent to the existing South Virginia Lateral “A” pipeline in Pittsylvania, Halifax, Charlotte, Mecklenburg, and Brunswick counties, Va. (South Virginia Lateral “B” pipeline);
  • construct about seven miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline extending north from the end of the proposed South Virginia Lateral “B” to Virginia Electric and Power’s (VEPCO) in-construction, 1,358-MW Brunswick County power plant (called the Brunswick Lateral).

Transco held an open season from April 4 to 25, 2012, and a supplemental open season from Nov. 2 to 8, 2012. Transco executed binding precedent agreements with Virginia Power, an affiliate of VEPCO, and Piedmont for 250,000 Dth/d and for 20,000 Dth/d, respectively, of incremental firm transportation service for 20-year terms. The precedent agreements subscribe all of the incremental capacity to be created by the Virginia Southside Expansion Project.

Other parties kept trying to bring up side issues about the Brunswick County power plant in this proceeding. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Council requested that FERC conduct a detailed air quality analysis that included the non-jurisdictional Brunswick County Power Station. But FERC said air emissions are outside its purview and that they were covered in state air permitting.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission issued an Aug. 2 order approving the 1,358-MW (nominal) Brunswick County project. The project, which went into construction right after the approval, is backed by VEPCO d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power, which is a unit of Dominion Resources (NYSE: D). Dominion says the plant should be operation by the summer of 2016.

Williams says this project is part of a broad pipeline expansion plan

Williams Partners LP (NYSE: WPZ) announced Nov. 21 that it has received this FERC approval to expand Transco, the nation’s largest natural gas pipeline system, to provide service to the Brunswick County plant. Of the total expanded capacity, more than 90% will serve that plant, while the remainder will serve Piedmont Natural Gas Co.’s local-distribution business in North Carolina.

The Virginia Southside Expansion is part of $2.2bn of Transco growth projects that Williams Partners has previously announced it plans to bring into service between 2013 and 2017. Together, those projects are designed to increase Transco system capacity by more than 35%. The expansions, which consist of 11 projects in nine eastern states, are designed to serve customers’ demand for power generation, industries and local distribution.

“Our expansions of Transco over the last decade provide an impressive track record of our ability to execute on the growth opportunities that we and our customers create around this premier asset,” said Alan Armstrong, CEO of Williams Partners’ general partner. “Since 2003, we have invested nearly $2 billion in 21 expansion projects that have increased Transco’s transportation capacity by 55 percent.”

The Transco pipeline is a 10,200-mile system that transports natural gas to markets throughout the northeastern and southeastern United States. Current system capacity is approximately 10.15 million dth/d, which is enough natural gas to serve the equivalent of more than 42 million homes.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.