Tag Archives: piedmont natural gas

Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas plan pipeline into NC

Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas are seeking proposals to build and operate a second major natural gas pipeline into North Carolina.

Duke has increasingly relied on gas as prices fell and coal-fired power plants shut down in the face of looming environmental standards. Piedmont’s customer growth last year was the highest since 2008 and continues to climb.

North Carolina is now served by Transco, a 10,200-mile pipeline owned by Williams Partners L.P. that sends Gulf of Mexico gas from south Texas to New York City. The line runs toward the Northeast in a diagonal route through Western North Carolina, including Mecklenburg County.

Massive new gas supplies are being developed in Pennsylvania and other northeastern states as the drilling technique called fracking taps shale-gas deposits.

Duke and Piedmont offer few details but say they have a “strong preference” for an interstate pipeline with a different route from the Transco line.

“Aside from knowing it’s going to end in North Carolina … the other terminus we won’t know until we get the proposals back,” said Piedmont spokesman David Trusty.

The companies’ solicitation to pipeline builders says they want expanded access to “competitive, secure, diverse and abundant supplies” with increased reliability for future gas deliveries.

It’s not clear who would own a new pipeline. The solicitation says Duke and Piedmont will consider a joint venture, ownership interest, strategic partnership or other financial arrangement.

“We’re leaving it wide open and evaluating a wide range of options,” said Duke spokesman Dave Scanzoni.

Edward Jones utilities analyst Andy Smith said Duke and Piedmont might prefer to own at least part of the new pipeline, allowing them to recover their investment through customer rates.

“It seems to make sense on the surface,” Smith said. “Duke has built a bunch of new gas-fired power plants, and they need supply. Piedmont has a growing customer base.”

Charlotte-based Piedmont owns a 24 percent stake in the new Constitution pipeline, now under construction, that will run from northern Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale drilling region to northeastern markets.

Florida Power & Light last year chose proposals by Spectra Energy and NextEra Energy to expand gas capacity in that state. A pipeline will run from southwestern Alabama to south Florida by 2017.

Duke and Piedmont want an initial pipeline capacity into North Carolina of up to 900 million cubic feet a day. Transco moves up to 9.8 billion cubic feet a day.

A proposal is expected to be selected by the end of 2014, with completion of the pipeline by late 2018.

The project would need approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates interstate natural gas pipelines, and Carolinas utilities commissions.

Duke has opened five natural gas-fired power plants in the state since 2011 and proposed another in South Carolina. Its latest planning forecast projects a continuing shift to gas, which burns more cleanly than coal.

Piedmont pipes gas to each of those plants, and last June completed a 128-mile line from Iredell County to Duke’s Sutton power plant in Wilmington.

Piedmont, which serves the Carolinas and Tennessee, added 14,200 customers in 2013. Customer growth for the first quarter of this year was 13 percent higher than in the same quarter of 2013.

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Piedmont Natural Gas, Davidson College at odds over nature preserve

Disputed pipeline route may change

Dwarf Flowered Heart-Leaf

By Bruce Henderson bhenderson@charlotteobserver.com
By Bruce Henderson      The Charlotte Observer
Piedmont Natural Gas and Davidson College say they are looking for alternative routes for a pipeline that would cross the college’s nature preserve.

But the two still disagreed on the facts of the dispute in an exchange of letters to state and federal regulators this week.

Piedmont says it never knew the Davidson College Ecological Preserve existed until the college fired off a strong objection to the pipeline. The planned pipeline will need a permanent easement 70 feet wide.

Davidson points out that, despite Piedmont’s pledge to consider alternatives, the utility asked regulators this week to grant permits based on the original route.

Davidson issued an objection to the project last month, accusing Piedmont of withholding information about the pipeline’s route for more than 18 months. The college said the proposed route would devastate the preserve, a 200-acre mix of pines and hardwoods that for years has been a focus of biological research.

In a letter this week to state and federal environmental regulators, Piedmont said that Davidson’s complaint included “numerous inaccuracies” but that the two are talking about alternative routes.

“But then, they ask the regulators to go ahead and issue permits for the flawed route that Davidson College objects to,” the college said in a statement Wednesday. Davidson says that on Feb. 16, it showed Piedmont officials and regulators an alternate route, following existing pipelines, which would minimize damage to the preserve.

Piedmont said the company just wants to avoid restarting the permitting process for stream and wetland impacts. The permit applications could be amended if a new route through college property is picked, said spokesman David Trusty.

“Nobody should misinterpret our desire to find a route that meets both our objectives,” Trusty said.

Piedmont says neither the company nor its environmental consultant, S&ME, had ever heard of the ecological preserve until Davidson filed its complaints last month.

The company says it adjusted the route to avoid two other preserves, owned by Mecklenburg County and the Catawba Lands Conservancy. College officials, Piedmont said, never mentioned their preserve.

Otherwise, the company said, “Piedmont would have engaged in the very efforts it is now undertaking to minimize impact” to the Davidson preserve.

Piedmont said it intends to divert the pipeline around a stream within the preserve where research into reptiles and amphibians is conducted. Its consultant said a rare plant the college had cited as potentially threatened, the dwarf-flowered heartleaf, has never been documented in Mecklenburg.

Utility: College had data

Piedmont also disputed Davidson’s claim that the college had been denied information on the pipeline route. The company says it told the college in 2010 that the line would likely cross Davidson property and that the college objected.

“In summary, Piedmont never deliberately misled Davidson College or any other landowner about its intent, process, timeline or pipeline routing,” the company wrote.

The 8-mile line would be part of a 133-mile pipeline by which Piedmont would serve Progress Energy’s Sutton power plant near Wilmington. Sutton will be converted from a coal-fired plant to one fueled by natural gas.

Piedmont has applied for permits from the N.C. Division of Water Quality and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Last month it asked for permission from the N.C. Utilities Commission.

About the Pipeline:


  • Location: Iredell County, Mecklenburg County, Cabarrus County, Anson County, Richmond County, Scotland County, Robeson County, Bladen County, Columbus County, Brunswick County, and New Hanover County
  • Length: Approximately 128 miles
  • Pipe Size: 120 miles of 20-inch pipe, 8 miles of 30-inch pipe
  • Source of Gas Supply: Williams Transco
  • Start Date: Spring 2011
  • Completion Date: Summer 2013

Pipeline Route for Progress Energy's Sutton Plant


Natural Gas Pipeline Planned to Traverse Nature Preserve in Charlotte through Eminent Domain

From DavidsonNews.net: Plans For Gas Pipeline Through Town Spark Concerns Friday February 17, 2012
gas pipeline proposed location mapPiedmont Natural Gas provided this partial map of the proposed pipeline route to Davidson Lands Conservancy. Click image to download a PDF.

Click to go to DavdisonNews.netDavidson College is protesting plans by Piedmont Natural Gas for a potentially damaging pipeline across land it owns in the northern part of town. In a letter to state regulators on Feb. 13, college officials said they have “significant concerns” about the project. The college also accuses the company of withholding information about the pipeline, which would begin construction in March.

The eight-mile pipeline would be part of a longer regional pipeline Piedmont is constructing to feed Progress Energy’s Sutton power station, in New Hanover County, near Wilmington. The gas company is seeking permits from the state Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as construction approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

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