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FERC staff OKs Northern Natural gas pipe upgrade to serve Minn. power plant

FERC Office of Energy Projects staff signed off on Northern Natural Gas Co.'s $49.9 million proposal to build and upgrade natural gas facilities in Minnesota but suggested mitigating measures as conditions for FERC's final approval.

Staff said in a Dec. 9 environmental assessment that approval of the proposal would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the environment as long as mitigating measures are followed.

On July 29, Northern Natural applied to build and operate the facilities that would make up the Cedar Station Upgrade project, which would include 7.86 miles of 20-inch-diameter pipeline in Dakota County, Minn.

The project would allow Northern Natural to meet its obligations to Northern States Power Co. as the company has increased its use of gas-fired generation. To serve Northern States, the project would increase delivery pressure to the Black Dog generating station from 400 pounds per square inch gauge to 650 psig.

The project would also include a new pig launcher and receiver, takeoff valve setting, tie-in valve setting and modifications to an existing facility.

Northern Natural's project is part of the larger Northern Lights project to increase capacity on the company's pipeline system in anticipation of growth demands through 2026.

Northern Natural is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (FERC docket CP16-487)