Over the next two years, Florida Power & Light could save its 4.8 million customers in the Sunshine State nearly $200 million, as it puts plans in place to shutter two coal-fired facilities.
The utility announced plans on December 21 to close the Cedar Bay Generating Plant – a 250-MW coal-fired facility located in Jacksonville – before year-end 2016. The move is expected to save the utility’s 4.8 million customers in the Sunshine State about $70 million annually.
FPL purchased the plant in 2015 with the intention of phasing it out of service at this time. Prior to the acquisition, FPL had been obligated to buy power from the facility under a 1988 power purchase agreement with the plant’s previous owners.
After the Cedar Bay plant has been closed down, FPL will dismantle it – a process that is estimated to take about two years.
In addition, FPL is in the process of purchasing and phasing out another coal-fired power plant, located in Indiantown, Florida. Similar to the Cedar Bay plan, this purchase is projected to save FPL customers an estimated $129 million – for a total of nearly $200 million.
Last October, the utility received approval (Docket No.150154-EI/Order No. PS-16-0419-CFO-EI) from the Florida Public Service Commission to buy and close the 330-MW Indiantown Cogeneration plant. The deal will end a long-term power purchase agreement between FPL and Calypso Energy Holdings.
In the case of the Indiantown site, FPL confirmed that it may operate the plant minimally through year-end 2018, as needed. However, the utility has said that the Indiantown facility may no longer be needed after the a new natural gas pipeline system goes online in Florida during 2017, and after FPL’s natural gas–fired Okeechobee Clean Energy Center starts generating power in 2019.
FPL stated that the company “has been strategically phasing out older, less efficient oil and coal-fired plants and replacing them with advanced, fuel-efficient energy centers.”
“Buying and shutting down old, inefficient coal plants is unprecedented in America,” commented FPL CEO Eric Silagy, in an official company release. “I’m very proud of our employees for proposing this innovative approach that’s environmentally beneficial and saves customers millions of dollars.”
Indeed, the utility claims, “Since 2001, FPL’s investments in high-efficiency natural gas generation alone have enabled the company to cut its use of foreign oil by more than 98 percent – from more than 40 million barrels of oil in 2001 to less than 1 million barrels annually today. This has saved FPL customers more than $8 billion on fuel costs and prevented more than 95 million tons of carbon emissions.”
FPL said it also has invested to increase its use of zero-emissions solar power. In 2016, the company has installed more than 1 million new solar panels in Florida. The new panels were installed at three new universal-scale solar energy centers, which together will provide about 224 MW of generating capacity for FPL customers.