JUNO BEACH, Fla., May 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today filed a petition with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) for approval to shut down the St. Johns River Power Park (SJRPP) at the end of this year. SJRPP is a coal-fired power plant jointly owned by FPL and JEA, the municipally-owned electric provider for the City of Jacksonville.
The approximately 1,300-megawatt plant has served customers of the two utilities well for many years, but it is no longer economical to operate. The retirement of the plant is expected to save FPL customers $183 million as well as prevent more than 5.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
"While the St. Johns River Power Park has been an important part of both FPL's and JEA's power generation mix for decades, it's time to retire the plant," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "This proposal is another step forward in our ongoing strategy of making smart investments in affordable clean energy to better serve our customers now and in the future."
"Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is critical to addressing climate change," said Greg Knecht, deputy executive director of the Florida chapter of The Nature Conservancy. "Any time we can replace less efficient sources of energy with cleaner fuels or solar, it's a benefit for people and nature. Investments such as FPL's in clean energy technologies are key to Florida's future health and prosperity."
In 1981, the PSC approved a request by FPL and JEA to build SJRPP to provide affordable power generated by a source other than oil – the fuel for the majority of FPL's plants at that time. FPL owns 20 percent of the facility, with an additional long-term agreement between the two utilities that has resulted in the partners sharing the power output and operating expenses equally.
Located in Jacksonville, SJRPP is currently one of the highest-cost generating facilities to operate and maintain for both FPL's and JEA's systems. Advances in technology have made cleaner, more fuel-efficient power generation from natural gas and solar more cost-effective, and the addition of a third major natural gas pipeline into Florida will soon make it possible for the generation of clean, affordable power to serve Floridians' needs without SJRPP and two other coal plants that FPL is shutting down.
FPL has asked the PSC to review this request and make its decision by December 2017, so that SJRPP can be closed down at the end of the year and the projected customer benefits can be realized sooner.
"This is the third coal power plant FPL is phasing out in two years while we continue to invest in major advances in solar and natural gas energy centers. We are proving that it's possible to be clean and low-cost," said Silagy.
Over the last two years, FPL bought out existing contracts with two independently owned coal-fired power plants with the goal of shutting down both plants, saving hundreds of millions of dollars for customers as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The first of these, the Cedar Bay plant in Jacksonville, ceased operations at the end of 2016. The second, the Indiantown Co-generation plant in Martin County, is on track to close by the end of 2019. FPL continues to look for additional opportunities to save customers money and generate cleaner energy.
Continuing to invest in high-efficiency natural gas technology
As the company continues to invest in cleaner, more fuel-efficient natural gas technology, FPL plans to retire its Lauderdale Plant in Dania Beach, Fla., the site of FPL's first power plant in 1927. The current plant was last updated nearly a quarter-century ago and continues to operate some components that date back to the 1950s.
FPL today also filed for approval of the first step in the comprehensive review and permitting process for its planned FPL Dania Beach Clean Energy Center, which would begin serving FPL customers by mid-2022 with approximately 1,200 megawatts of 24-7 capacity. The new facility is projected to generate approximately $400 million in net cost savings for FPL customers – over and above the cost of construction – during its operational life.
Importantly, the advanced efficiency of the new plant would generate more power using less fuel, reducing FPL's system-wide natural gas consumption.
"Our strategy of phasing out older power-generating units and investing in new, high-efficiency clean energy centers continues to save customers millions of dollars on fuel costs and reduce air emissions" added Silagy. "The modernization of our Dania Beach property – home to FPL power plants for nearly a century – will enable us to continue to meet South Florida's energy needs while reducing emissions and FPL's use of natural gas systemwide."
The company's investments in high-efficiency natural gas energy generation since 2001 have saved FPL customers more than $8.6 billion in fossil fuel costs and prevented 108 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Continuing to advance clean energy sources
FPL already operates more solar than any other utility in Florida with 335 megawatts that includes six universal solar power plants. The company is moving forward with plans to add nearly 2,100 megawatts of new universal solar from 2017 through 2023. Based on the technology currently being installed, nearly 2,100 megawatts of new solar translates into approximately 9 million solar panels, which if placed end to end, would stretch from Miami to Sydney, Australia. FPL expects to build all of this proposed new universal solar capacity cost-effectively – meaning these investments will result in net savings for FPL customers.
The first eight new solar plants – approximately 600 megawatts combined – are on track to be completed less than a year from now. They are projected to generate estimated net lifetime savings of more than $39 million for FPL customers. The other approximately 1,500 megawatts of solar are anticipated for 2019 through 2023, and FPL has begun to develop plans and evaluate potential locations. FPL previously noted that an undeveloped, company-owned property in western Miami-Dade County had been identified as a promising future location for a universal solar facility. Sites in other areas of the state are under consideration as well, including a company-owned property outside of Lake City in Columbia County.
Thanks in large part to the company's affordable clean energy strategy, FPL continues to be one of the cleanest utilities in America, with a carbon dioxide emissions rate that is nearly 30 percent lower than the national average – while still providing best-in-class reliability and bills that are about 25 percent lower than the national average.
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving approximately 4.9 million customer accounts or an estimated 10 million people across nearly half of the state of Florida. FPL's typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 25 percent lower than the latest national average and, in 2016, was the lowest in Florida among reporting utilities for the seventh year in a row. FPL's service reliability is better than 99.98 percent, and its highly fuel-efficient power plant fleet is one of the cleanest among all utilities nationwide. The company received the top ranking in the southern U.S. among large electric providers, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM, and was recognized in 2016 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities by Market Strategies International. A leading Florida employer with approximately 8,900 employees, FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, ethics and diversity, and has been ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune's 2017 list of "World's Most Admired Companies." NextEra Energy is also the parent company of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com, www.FPL.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.
Cautionary Statements and Risk Factors That May Affect Future Results
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical facts, but instead represent the current expectations of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NextEra Energy) and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) regarding future operating results and other future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of NextEra Energy's and FPL's control. In some cases, you can identify the forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as "will," "may result," "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "intend," "plan," "seek," "potential," "projection," "forecast," "predict," "goals," "target," "outlook," "should," "would" or similar words or expressions. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future performance. The future results of NextEra Energy and FPL and their business and financial condition are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause their actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, or may require them to limit or eliminate certain operations. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following: effects of extensive regulation of NextEra Energy's and FPL's business operations; inability of NextEra Energy and FPL to recover in a timely manner any significant amount of costs, a return on certain assets or a reasonable return on invested capital through base rates, cost recovery clauses, other regulatory mechanisms or otherwise; impact of political, regulatory and economic factors on regulatory decisions important to NextEra Energy and FPL; disallowance of cost recovery by FPL based on a finding of imprudent use of derivative instruments; effect of any reductions or modifications to, or elimination of, governmental incentives or policies that support utility scale renewable energy projects of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and its affiliated entities (NextEra Energy Resources) or the imposition of additional tax laws, policies or assessments on renewable energy; impact of new or revised laws, regulations, interpretations or other regulatory initiatives on NextEra Energy and FPL; capital expenditures, increased operating costs and various liabilities attributable to environmental laws, regulations and other standards applicable to NextEra Energy and FPL; effects on NextEra Energy and FPL of federal or state laws or regulations mandating new or additional limits on the production of greenhouse gas emissions; exposure of NextEra Energy and FPL to significant and increasing compliance costs and substantial monetary penalties and other sanctions as a result of extensive federal regulation of their operations and businesses; effect on NextEra Energy and FPL of changes in tax laws, guidance or policies as well as in judgments and estimates used to determine tax-related asset and liability amounts; impact on NextEra Energy and FPL of adverse results of litigation; effect on NextEra Energy and FPL of failure to proceed with projects under development or inability to complete the construction of (or capital improvements to) electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, gas infrastructure facilities or other facilities on schedule or within budget; impact on development and operating activities of NextEra Energy and FPL resulting from risks related to project siting, financing, construction, permitting, governmental approvals and the negotiation of project development agreements; risks involved in the operation and maintenance of electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, gas infrastructure facilities and other facilities; effect on NextEra Energy and FPL of a lack of growth or slower growth in the number of customers or in customer usage; impact on NextEra Energy and FPL of severe weather and other weather conditions; threats of terrorism and catastrophic events that could result from terrorism, cyber attacks or other attempts to disrupt NextEra Energy's and FPL's business or the businesses of third parties; inability to obtain adequate insurance coverage for protection of NextEra Energy and FPL against significant losses and risk that insurance coverage does not provide protection against all significant losses; a prolonged period of low gas and oil prices could impact NextEra Energy Resources' gas infrastructure business and cause NextEra Energy Resources to delay or cancel certain gas infrastructure projects and for certain existing projects to be impaired; risk to NextEra Energy Resources of increased operating costs resulting from unfavorable supply costs necessary to provide NextEra Energy Resources' full energy and capacity requirement services; inability or failure by NextEra Energy Resources to manage properly or hedge effectively the commodity risk within its portfolio; effect of reductions in the liquidity of energy markets on NextEra Energy's ability to manage operational risks; effectiveness of NextEra Energy's and FPL's risk management tools associated with their hedging and trading procedures to protect against significant losses, including the effect of unforeseen price variances from historical behavior; impact of unavailability or disruption of power transmission or commodity transportation facilities on sale and delivery of power or natural gas by FPL and NextEra Energy Resources; exposure of NextEra Energy and FPL to credit and performance risk from customers, hedging counterparties and vendors; failure of NextEra Energy or FPL counterparties to perform under derivative contracts or of requirement for NextEra Energy or FPL to post margin cash collateral under derivative contracts; failure or breach of NextEra Energy's or FPL's information technology systems; risks to NextEra Energy and FPL's retail businesses from compromise of sensitive customer data; losses from volatility in the market values of derivative instruments and limited liquidity in OTC markets; impact of negative publicity; inability of NextEra Energy and FPL to maintain, negotiate or renegotiate acceptable franchise agreements with municipalities and counties in Florida; occurrence of work strikes or stoppages and increasing personnel costs; NextEra Energy's ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate acquisitions, including the effect of increased competition for acquisitions; NextEra Energy Partners, LP's (NEP's) acquisitions may not be completed and, even if completed, NextEra Energy may not realize the anticipated benefits of any acquisitions; environmental, health and financial risks associated with NextEra Energy Resources' and FPL's ownership and operation of nuclear generation facilities; liability of NextEra Energy and FPL for significant retrospective assessments and/or retrospective insurance premiums in the event of an incident at certain nuclear generation facilities; increased operating and capital expenditures and/or result in reduced revenues at nuclear generation facilities of NextEra Energy or FPL resulting from orders or new regulations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; inability to operate any of NextEra Energy Resources' or FPL's owned nuclear generation units through the end of their respective operating licenses; effect of disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the credit and capital markets on NextEra Energy's and FPL's ability to fund their liquidity and capital needs and meet their growth objectives; inability of NextEra Energy, FPL and NextEra Energy Capital Holdings, Inc. to maintain their current credit ratings; impairment of NextEra Energy's and FPL's liquidity from inability of credit providers to fund their credit commitments or to maintain their current credit ratings; poor market performance and other economic factors that could affect NextEra Energy's defined benefit pension plan's funded status; poor market performance and other risks to the asset values of NextEra Energy's and FPL's nuclear decommissioning funds; changes in market value and other risks to certain of NextEra Energy's investments; effect of inability of NextEra Energy subsidiaries to pay upstream dividends or repay funds to NextEra Energy or of NextEra Energy's performance under guarantees of subsidiary obligations on NextEra Energy's ability to meet its financial obligations and to pay dividends on its common stock; the fact that the amount and timing of dividends payable on NextEra Energy's common stock, as well as the dividend policy approved by NextEra Energy's board of directors from time to time, and changes to that policy, are within the sole discretion of NextEra Energy's board of directors and, if declared and paid, dividends may be in amounts that are less than might be expected by shareholders; NEP's inability to access sources of capital on commercially reasonable terms could have an effect on its ability to consummate future acquisitions and on the value of NextEra Energy's limited partner interest in NextEra Energy Operating Partners, LP; and effects of disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the credit and capital markets on the market price of NextEra Energy's common stock. NextEra Energy and FPL discuss these and other risks and uncertainties in their annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 and other SEC filings, and this news release should be read in conjunction with such SEC filings made through the date of this news release. The forward-looking statements made in this news release are made only as of the date of this news release and NextEra Energy and FPL undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
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SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company