JUNO BEACH, Fla. – After years of quietly building what has become the largest renewable energy business in the nation, FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE: FPL) has established itself as one of the nation’s cleanest electric power providers. More than anything else, this defines the company’s commitment to sustainable business practices.
“In an era when climate change threatens potentially catastrophic consequences for the planet, sustainability confronts corporate America with a simple question: What are you doing to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions? At FPL Group, we have a simple answer: A lot. Through our substantial investments in low-carbon electricity generation, we are now one of the cleanest power companies in the nation,” FPL Group Chairman and CEO Lew Hay said in the company’s 2009 Sustainability Report (www.FPLGroup.com/pdf/sustain-report.pdf). The report, issued today, comes less than a week after FPL Group was named to the 2009 Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
FPL Group’s commitment to sustainability is defined not merely by the company’s words but by its actions. Here are 10 facts from the report that highlight FPL Group’s clean-energy leadership:
1. FPL Group is the No. 1 producer of wind power in North America.
2. FPL Group now generates more electricity from its wind farms than from its largest nuclear power plant.
3. FPL Group owns the largest wind farm in the world, the 736 megawatt Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas.
4. FPL Group is the No. 1 producer of solar power in North America.
5. FPL is building 110 megawatts of solar power in Florida, which will vault the state into second place nationwide in solar generation.
6. FPL Group operates the largest solar power plants in the world, the 310 megawatt Solar Electric Generating Systems in California’s Mojave Desert.
7. FPL Group’s carbon dioxide emissions rate is half the industry average.
8. If every utility in the nation were as clean as FPL Group, total U.S. CO2 emissions would be cut by 20 percent, equivalent to removing eight of every 10 vehicles from the road.
9. More than 90 percent of the electricity FPL Group generates is from clean natural gas and emissions-free nuclear, wind and solar; only 8 percent comes from oil and coal.
10. FPL has the No. 1 demand-side management program in the nation. The company’s programs have avoided the need to build 12 power plants, more than any other utility.
All told, FPL Group’s zero-emissions generation avoided 42.6 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2008. That’s the carbon equivalent of removing eight coal-fired power plants or preserving 269,000 acres of forest, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator.
FPL Group also has among the lowest emission rates of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the nation. In fact, since 1995, FPL Group’s power generation has increased by 123 percent while its SO2 emissions rate declined by 84 percent and its NOx emissions rate fell by 79 percent.
In the national debate over climate change, FPL Group has been a forceful advocate of putting a price on carbon dioxide to drive additional investments in clean energy. As Lew Hay says in the Sustainability Report, “Carbon emissions impose huge costs on society—costs that the emitters don’t bear. To use a phrase you don’t normally hear from a power company CEO, we must ‘make polluters pay.’ Only when carbon carries a price equal to its cost to society as a whole will we have a level playing field among all forms of electricity generation.”
FPL Group is also a leader in greening its vehicle fleet. Half of the utility’s fleet of cars and trucks—2,412 in all—now run on biodiesel, and more than 300 hybrids and plug-in hybrids are now in service. In each of the past three years, the company has doubled the size of its hybrid vehicle fleet, and in 2006, FPL was the first company to put a medium-duty hybrid bucket truck into service.
Within Florida, the company runs successful programs to protect sea turtles, manatees, crocodiles and other wildlife. For example, FPL provides a unique habitat for the American crocodile among the 5,600 acres of cooling canals at its Turkey Point site south of Miami. Since the early 1980s, more than 3,000 crocodile hatchlings have been documented at the site, which has been responsible for virtually the entire increase in the crocodile population over the past two decades. The result: On March 20, 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reclassified the American crocodile from endangered to threatened, giving special recognition to FPL for its contribution to the species’ recovery.
Environmental and Economic Sustainability Go Hand in Hand
FPL Group believes that a strong commitment to environmental sustainability has helped the company to achieve economic sustainability as well. Long before climate change was a headline concern, FPL Group made a strategic decision to become a clean-energy leader. The company’s wind turbine fleet is now the largest in the nation and more than twice the size of its two closest competitors combined. Through acquisitions, the company has also built one of the country’s largest competitive nuclear fleets.
This commitment to clean energy has helped FPL Group perform well above its peers and the market as a whole for the five years ending in 2008. The company has also been able to drive significant economic activity in the communities where it operates. The $18 billion that FPL Group has invested in clean-energy infrastructure over the past five years has created 60,000 direct and indirect jobs, generating roughly $30 billion in economic impact for the U.S. economy.
FPL Group’s record of sustainable economic performance has earned it the twin honors of being No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s list of the “Most Admired” electric and gas companies and one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere magazine, both for three years in a row.
A Commitment to Communities
Just as FPL Group’s environmental stewardship has contributed to economic success, the company’s economic success enables it to support the communities where it does business. This support takes many forms.
The company sponsors a range of education programs from the elementary school through college levels. Under the utility’s program to create “Solar Education Stations,” local schools receive solar arrays and educational curricula to help teach students the benefits of renewable energy. FPL Group also maintains an Education Partnership Program with colleges and universities to prepare students to work in the electric power industry.
Within Florida, the company has made a substantial effort to help those in need. Under its Care to Share program, FPL and its employees contribute more than $1 million a year to assist those unable to pay their electric bills. Since 2005, the company has also contributed more than $1 million to Habitat for Humanity to build 15 homes for low-income customers. In 2008, the FPL Group Foundation donated $1 million to help vulnerable customers with food, clothing and housing assistance and another $500,000 to Miami’s Camillus House for the homeless. And since 2000, the company and its employees have contributed more than $25 million to the United Way.
Volunteer efforts at the company are numerous. In 2008, the company’s employees and families dedicated 13,700 hours to activities such as cleaning shorelines, renovating playgrounds, and participating in breast-cancer awareness events. One of the company’s signature volunteer efforts is the Home Energy Makeover program for low-income customers. Since 2006, the company has performed complete energy efficiency overhauls on 250 homes, allowing homeowners to save up to 25 percent on their annual energy bills.
“At FPL Group, we see the various elements of sustainability as a seamless whole,” Hay wrote. “A commitment to environmental stewardship leads to economic success that allows us to support the communities where we work and live. For us, sustainability is not an alien concept that requires us to force-fit our business practices into a new paradigm. On the contrary, sustainability is the way we have been operating for decades, long before the term became fashionable in corporate responsibility circles. We don’t know how to do business any other way.”
FPL Group: Energy Solutions for the Next Era
FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE: FPL) is a leading clean energy company with 2008 revenues of more than $16 billion, approximately 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity, and more than 15,000 employees in 27 states and Canada. Headquartered in Juno Beach, Fla., FPL Group’s principal subsidiaries are NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the largest generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and Florida Power & Light Company, which serves 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida and is one of the largest rate-regulated electric utilities in the country. Through its subsidiaries, FPL Group collectively operates the third largest U.S. nuclear power generation fleet. For more information about FPL Group companies, visit these Web sites: www.FPLGroup.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com, www.FPL.com.