Pipeline requests regulatory approval

Published 11:47 pm Friday, September 18, 2015

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has formally applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to build the 564-mile pipeline.

The commission will examine issues such as public safety, air quality, natural resources and more as it does its research, according to a press release from the pipeline partnership. The commission is being asked to certify the public benefit and necessity of the project.

“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.”

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The 540-mile natural gas pipeline by Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run from Harrison County, W.Va., to Robeson County, N.C., with a spur coming east from the Virginia/North Carolina state line to Chesapeake, running through Suffolk on the way.

Construction is expected to begin next year, if regulatory approval is received. The pipeline is expected to be transporting natural gas by the end of 2018.

About 79 percent of the natural gas transported by the pipeline will be used to generate electricity. The remainder will be used directly for residential (9 percent), industrial (9 percent) and commercial and other uses such as vehicle fuel (about 3 percent).

Four energy companies — Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources — formed Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC to build and own the proposed pipeline.

Virginia Natural Gas, the subsidiary of AGL Resources in Hampton Roads, has stated it needs more natural gas to meet customer demands during peak times in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.

There are no existing interstate pipelines with available capacity running from the Appalachian region to serve Virginia and North Carolina directly, according to materials provide by Dominion.

About 96 percent of the pipeline’s capacity is already subscribed to those four companies, according to the press release. The remaining 4 percent will be awarded and contracted for in accordance with commission policies, according to the press release.