JUNO BEACH, Fla., April 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company today announced that it now expects to add a total of nearly 2,100 megawatts of new solar across Florida in the next seven years, including approximately 600 megawatts previously announced, which are on track to be operational by early 2018. Also, FPL plans to modernize the site of its first power plant in Dania Beach, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale. By replacing an existing older power plant with modern, highly fuel-efficient natural gas technology, FPL expects to save customers money, cut air emissions and reduce the overall amount of natural gas that FPL's system uses.
In addition, FPL recently reached a preliminary agreement with JEA to close down the St. Johns River Power Park, a coal-fired power plant in Jacksonville, Fla., jointly owned by the two utilities. With these latest investments and others currently underway, FPL projects that solar will outpace oil and coal combined as a percentage of the company's energy mix in less than three years.
"We continue to advance affordable clean energy strategically – making substantial improvements year after year while keeping overall electric rates lower than they were 10 years ago," said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. "We're currently building some of the lowest-cost solar ever seen in America, and our investments in more efficient natural gas technology are delivering enormous savings and environmental benefits for our customers and our state. Our strategy of making smart, long-term investments in clean energy infrastructure is working, and we're looking forward to keeping the momentum going with the major advancements announced today – which, combined, are expected to save customers more than half a billion dollars."
"FPL's modernization of its Dania Beach facility, which would produce more energy, significantly cut air emissions and reduce the company's overall use of natural gas, is a winner for South Florida. Coupled with the company's commitment to further expand solar power, FPL is helping to establish Florida as a national clean energy leader," said Doug Young, Audubon Florida board member and South Florida Audubon Society chief operating officer.
Cleaner energy than ever before
FPL's latest generation plans and energy mix forecast were filed with the Florida Public Service Commission today as part of the company's 2017-2026 Ten Year Site Plan, an annual comprehensive resource planning update that represents the current outlook for meeting the energy needs of customers over the next 10 years. For the first time ever, FPL projects that solar power will outpace coal and oil combined as a percentage of the company's energy mix by 2020.
In 2016, the United States generated roughly one-third of its energy from natural gas and one-third from other fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum, approximately 20 percent from nuclear and less than 1 percent from solar (with the remainder coming from a variety of other sources such as hydroelectric, waste energy, geothermal, etc.). FPL's 2016 energy mix included similar levels of nuclear and solar but more natural gas (approximately 70 percent) and far less coal and oil (approximately 5 percent combined).
In the next few years, FPL expects to reduce its coal and oil usage to less than 1 percent combined while more than quadrupling solar's share of the company's energy mix. In 2023, FPL projects solar will reach 4 percent, which is a higher percentage than nearly every state in the nation today.
Advancing even more universal solar
FPL plans to add an average of nearly 300 megawatts of new solar annually from 2017 through at least 2023, for a total of nearly 2,100 megawatts of new universal solar under development across its Florida service area – enough to power more than 420,000 homes. This includes approximately 600 megawatts FPL is building at eight sites that are expected to begin operating less than a year from now.
For the approximately 1,500 megawatts of solar anticipated for 2019 through 2023, FPL is working to develop plans and evaluate potential locations. No projects have been finalized yet, but notably, FPL has determined that an undeveloped, company-owned property in western Miami-Dade County could make a promising location for a universal solar facility.
FPL expects to build all of this proposed new universal solar capacity cost-effectively – meaning that these investments will result in net savings for FPL customers. The eight new solar plants expected by early 2018 alone will generate estimated net lifetime savings of $39 million for FPL customers.
FPL has been working for several years to find ways to reduce costs in order to bring more universal solar to its customers cost-effectively. Lower costs that come with nearby transmission and substation infrastructure continue to be a driving force behind the selection of FPL's universal solar sites, as does the company's ability to buy solar panels in large quantities. Based on the technology currently being installed, nearly 2,100 megawatts of new solar translates into nearly 9 million solar panels.
Continuing to invest in high-efficiency natural gas technology
U.S.-produced natural gas will continue to be a major component of FPL's generation mix, providing clean, reliable power for customers and helping keep FPL electric bills among the lowest in the nation. 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.
FPL plans to further modernize its system by retiring its Lauderdale Plant in Dania Beach, Fla., the site of FPL's first power plant in the 1920s. The current plant was last updated nearly a quarter-century ago and continues to operate major components dating back to the 1950s. In its place, FPL is proposing to build a new, natural gas-fueled clean energy center, the FPL Dania Beach Clean Energy Center, which would begin serving FPL customers by mid-2022 with approximately 1,200 megawatts of 24-7 capacity and save FPL customers hundreds of millions of dollars over its operational life.
With approval from the Florida Public Service Commission and support from the community, the modernized site would help FPL better serve the growing needs of the highly populated Southeast Florida region. It would reduce primary air emissions by 70 percent and generate economic benefits for Broward County and the state. Importantly, the advanced efficiency of the new plant would generate more power using less fuel, reducing FPL's system-wide natural gas consumption.
"The FPL Dania Beach Clean Energy Center would substantially increase annual tax revenues that would benefit all residents, in addition to dramatically reducing emissions. That's a proposition I'm happy to support," said Dania Beach Mayor Tamara Jones.
"FPL continues to invest in advanced technology to further improve service reliability and ensure competitive rates for its customers, factors that are crucial for retaining existing businesses and attracting new ones to the area," said Bob Swindell, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. "FPL's new energy facility, much like the recent modernization of its Port Everglades plant, will produce major benefits that will ripple through the Broward County economy for decades to come."
Shutting down more costly and higher-emitting coal power plants
FPL continues to look for additional opportunities to save customers money and generate cleaner energy. Over the last two years, FPL bought out existing contracts with two independent coal-fired power plants with the goal of shutting both plants down, 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 plant in Martin County, is on track to close by 2019.
In addition, FPL and JEA recently announced their intent to close the coal-fired St. Johns River Power Park at the end of this year. The 1,252-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 $165 million as well as eliminate more than 5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
FPL will file detailed plans for the PSC's review in the near future.
More about FPL's solar investments
Currently, FPL operates more than 335 megawatts of solar generating capacity with nearly 600 megawatts expected to come online by early 2018. Major announced and completed installations include:
In addition, FPL has installed small-scale solar arrays for more than 100 Florida schools and other educational facilities. For more information, visit www.FPL.com/solar.
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. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, among others, statements concerning future operating performance. 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.
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company