Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, today formally applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to build a 564-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline designed to meet the need for cleaner electricity generation, satisfy the growing demand for natural gas to heat homes and businesses, and promote consumer savings and economic growth.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is being asked to certify the public benefit and necessity of the project. The FERC and a number of participating agencies will examine fully a broad number of issues, including 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.
Four major U.S. energy companies – Dominion (NYSE: D), Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) and AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) – formed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, (Atlantic) to build and own the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The pipeline would transport abundant natural gas supplies from Harrison County, W.Va., southeast through Virginia with an extension to Chesapeake, Va., and south through central North Carolina to Robeson County. Pending regulatory approval, construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2016 and the pipeline is expected to be in service in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The 30,000-page application, environmental resource reports and exhibits – a stack of paper more than 10 feet tall – represent an extensive study by Dominion and outside experts as well as public input to find the best route to bring the much-needed energy to Virginia and North Carolina. Atlantic has considered more than 3,000 miles of potential routes and made hundreds of route adjustments based on discussions with landowners, public officials and others. Atlantic has participated in more than 60 public meetings involving thousands of interested individuals, agencies and organizations.
“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is essential to meeting the clean energy needs of Virginia and North Carolina, and has significant benefits for West Virginia as well,” said Diane Leopold, president of Dominion Energy, the Dominion business unit responsible for building and operating the project. “The ACP will enhance overall energy reliability in the region, bringing natural gas that will heat homes and power businesses, support thousands of jobs, and promote lower energy prices and economic development. It will be used to fuel a new generation of efficient power stations being built to achieve future federal and state environmental regulations.
“We are committed to excellence in every aspect of this important project. We will continue to work with landowners, government and community leaders, regulators and others to address concerns and refine the project,” Leopold added.
The ACP has strong support from Govs. Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia, Terry McAuliffe of Virginia and Pat McCrory of North Carolina, and other federal, state and local officials. A three-state coalition of more than 150 business and labor organizations, EnergySure (www.energysure.com), recently announced its support for the project and the economic development that it is projected to create.
Ownership stakes in Atlantic are: Dominion, 45 percent; Duke Energy, 40 percent; Piedmont, 10 percent; and AGL Resources, 5 percent. Utility subsidiaries and affiliates of all four companies plus PSNC Energy have signed on as customers of the pipeline. Ninety-six percent of the pipeline’s capacity is subscribed by these companies.