Natural gas pipeline approved for BL England plant

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BEESLEYS POINT – The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) Monday approved an agreement for South Jersey Gas to deliver natural gas to the BL England power plant in Beesleys Point, part of a planned $400 million conversion from coal and oil to natural gas.


The NJBPU approved the agreement at its Monday, April 29 meeting in Trenton. A public hearing on the pipeline is planned at 7 p.m. today, Wednesday, May 1, at Township Hall, 2100 Tuckahoe Road in Petersburg.

Mayor Richard Palombo said the meeting will cover what path the pipeline will take through Upper Township.

“The pipeline is going to pass through much of the township,” he said. “It’s coming from Millville into Tuckahoe and then down Route 50 and Tuckahoe Road (Route 631). They will be burying it alongside the roadway. The ditch is going to be as close to the roadway as possible so it doesn’t affect any properties.”

Palombo said the pipeline will be buried on the north side of Tuckahoe Road. As it approaches the wetlands near Tyler Road it will be buried 30 feet underground so that it passes under the creek there, he said.

The pipeline will then turn north onto the railroad bed to the BL England plant in Beesleys Point, Palombo said.

In a statement, South Jersey Gas president Jeffrey E. DuBois said the pipeline will cost approximately $90 million to install. The 24-inch natural gas pipeline will transport about 20 million dekatherms of gas from Millville to Beesleys Point, he said.

That equates to the same amount of gas that South Jersey Gas provides to 267,000 homes in a year.

“The BL England plant is an important part of the electric infrastructure in southern New Jersey,” said DuBois. “The repowering of this station with natural gas assures the continued availability of this important asset and advances several goals of New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan, including the promotion of new, clean, in-state electric generation, for power production and protecting our environment.”

New Jersey’s policy is to discourage the construction of new coal-fired power plants as well as to accelerate the decommissioning of existing coal-fired plants in the state.

The natural gas pipeline will also provide system reliability for customers in Atlantic and Cape May counties, DuBois said.

The BL England facility is one of the New Jersey's oldest power plants. Its conversion to natural gas will significantly reduce air pollutants, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).

RC Cape May Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Texas-based Rockland, Co., will shut down one coal-burning unit at BL England and repower a second coal-burning unit to a combined-cycle natural gas turbine. It will also refuel a third oil-burning unit with natural gas.

The conversion will nearly eliminate emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides as well as sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain and haze. The two coal-fired units at the BL England plant are the last coal-fired units in the state without state-of-the art pollution control equipment.

Construction of the natural gas pipeline still requires permits from the NJDEP and the Pinelands Commission. 

The plant’s conversion is expected to cost $400 million and to be completed by 2016.


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