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FPL Energy advances solar strategy; plans to build new solar electric generating facility in California

JUNO BEACH, Fla. – FPL Energy, LLC, already the country’s leading generator of wind and solar thermal power, announced today an important step in its strategy to add significantly to its solar power generating capability. 

FPL Energy, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, has filed an Application for Certification with the California Energy Commission (CEC) to construct, own and operate a 250-megawatt solar plant in the Mojave Desert to be called the Beacon Solar Energy Project.  

FPL Energy’s solar generation strategy centers on utilizing proven and scalable parabolic trough solar thermal technology that has been used commercially for more than 20 years. FPL Energy has nearly 20 years of experience operating similar technology at its SEGS solar thermal facilities in the Mojave Desert. 

As first announced at the Clinton Global Initiative last September, FPL Group, the parent company of FPL Energy, is committed to and plans to invest significantly in new solar generating facilities over the next several years.

FPL Energy has set a goal of adding at least 600 megawatts of new solar by 2015. FPL Energy has already identified 1,100 megawatts of new solar sites and has leased, optioned or owns outright a significant amount of land in the west and southwest U.S.

“FPL Energy is a leader in producing energy from clean and renewable sources,” said Mitch Davidson, president of FPL Energy. “At a time of rising and volatile fossil-fuel costs and increasing concerns about greenhouse gases, solar electricity can have a meaningful impact in reducing carbon dioxide emissions that scientists believe contribute to global warming. We believe that solar power has similar long-term potential as wind energy, and we are well positioned to play a leading role in the growth of this renewable technology.” 

The proposed Beacon Solar Energy Project will be located on an approximately 2,000 acre site in eastern Kern County, California. The more than 500,000 parabolic mirrors will be assembled in rows to receive and concentrate the solar energy to produce steam for powering a steam turbine generator.  The generator will produce electric power for delivery to the nearby electric grid.    

FPL Energy expects to begin construction on the project late in 2009 and take approximately two years to complete. Once complete, the project will have little air or water emissions.  

The recently filed Application for Certification with the CEC is the latest example of FPL Energy’s leadership and commitment to renewable energy generation. In addition to being the largest operator of solar power in the U.S. with 310 megawatts, FPL Energy is also the largest owner and operator of wind power in the country with more than 5,000 megawatts currently in operation. FPL Energy subsidiaries also currently own and operate nearly 700 megawatts of wind in California.

FPL Energy is a leading competitive energy supplier utilizing clean fuels such as natural gas, wind, solar, hydroelectric and nuclear to generate electricity. It is the nation’s leader in wind energy, with 56 wind facilities in operation in 16 states. It is a subsidiary of FPL Group, (NYSE: FPL) one of the nation's largest providers of electricity-related services with annual revenues of over $15 billion. FPL Group's rate-regulated subsidiary is Florida Power & Light Company, one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida. Additional information is available at www.FPLEnergy.com,www.FPLGroup.com and www.FPL.com.

Cautionary Statements And Risk Factors That May Affect Future Results

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Forward-looking statements typically express or involve discussion as to expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance and often can be identified by the use of words such as “will,” “expect,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” and similar terms.   

Although FPL Group, Inc. (FPL Group) believes that its expectations are reasonable, because forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, it can give no assurance that the forward-looking statements contained in this press release will prove to be correct, including FPL Group’s expectations with respect to the Beacon Solar Energy Project.  Important factors could cause FPL Group’s actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements in this press release.  Factors that could have a significant impact on FPL Group’s operations and financial results, and could cause FPL Group’s actual results or outcomes, both generally and specifically with respect to the Beacon Solar Energy Project, to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include, among others:

  • Inability to complete construction of, or capital improvements to, the Beacon Solar Energy Project or other FPL Group power generation facilities
  • Inability to obtain the required regulatory approvals and permits for the construction and operation of the Beacon Solar Energy Project
  • Inability to obtain the supplies necessary for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Beacon Solar Energy Project or other FPL Group power generation facilities
  • Changes in laws, regulations, governmental policies and regulatory actions regarding the energy industry and environmental matters
  • Inability of FPL Group to access capital markets or maintain its credit rating
  • Inability to hire and retain skilled labor for the construction and operation of the Beacon Solar Energy Project, or other changes or disruptions related to FPL Group’s workforce
  • General economic conditions
  • Hazards customary to the operation and maintenance of power generation facilities, including unanticipated outages
  • Unusual or adverse weather conditions, including natural disasters
  • Transmissions constraints or other factors limiting FPL Group’s ability to deliver energy
  • Volatility in the price of energy
  • Failure of FPL Group customers to perform under contracts
  • Increased competition in the power industry
  • Changes in the wholesale power markets
  • Costs and other effects of legal and administrative proceedings
  • Terrorism or other catastrophic events

 

These foregoing factors should be considered in connection with information regarding risks and uncertainties that may affect FPL Group’s future results included in FPL Group’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov

FPL Group undertakes no obligation to update or review any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances, including unanticipated events, after the date on which such statement is made.  New factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for management to predict all of such factors, nor can it assess the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of facts, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.