FPL Plans Solar and Gas Push in 10-Year PlanDavid Wagman | April 04, 2017
Florida Power & Light Co. and Jacksonville, Fla.-based JEA plan to close a 1,252 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant jointly owned by the two utilities.
Florida Power also says that it expects to add 2,100 MW of solar energy capacity in the next seven years. That includes around 600 MW on track to enter service by early 2018.
FPL also says it plans to build 1,200 MW of natural gas-fired generating capacity at the site of its first power plant in Dania Beach, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale. By replacing an existing older power plant with natural gas technology, FPL says it expects to save customers money, cut air emissions, and reduce the amount of natural gas that FPL's system uses.
FPL says that it expects solar to outpace oil and coal combined as a percentage of the company's energy mix in less than three years.
(Read "How Does Solar Energy Work? PV Basics.")
FPL's latest generation plans and energy mix forecast were filed with the Florida Public Service Commission in early April as part of the company's 2017-2026 Ten Year Site Plan.
FPL's 2016 energy mix included around 20% nuclear, 1% solar, 70% natural gas, and 5% coal and oil. In the next few years, FPL expects to reduce its coal and oil use to less than 1% combined. In 2023, FPL projects solar will reach 4%.
The utility says that it plans to add an average of nearly 300 MW of new solar annually from 2017 through at least 2023, for a total of nearly 2,100 MW.
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 the company says that an undeveloped, company-owned property in western Miami-Dade County could make a "promising location for a universal solar facility."
FPL says the solar can be developed cost-effectively by locating facilities near transmission and substation infrastructure, and by buying solar panels in bulk.
FPL says it plans to 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 25 years ago and continues to operate with equipment dating from the 1950s. In its place, FPL is proposing to build a 1,200 MW natural gas-fueled power plant, the FPL Dania Beach Clean Energy Center, which could enter service by mid-2022.
Over the last two years, FPL bought out existing contracts with two independent coal-fired power plants with the goal of shutting down both plants. The first of these, the Cedar Bay plant in Jacksonville, closed at the end of 2016. The second, the Indiantown plant in Martin County, is on track to close by 2019.
Closing the 1,252 MW coal-fired St. Johns River Power Park at the end of 2017 could save FPL customers $165 million a year, the utility says.