FPL Closes Coal-Fired Plant, Opens New Solar Energy Centers

In January of 2018, the aging coal-fired St. Johns River Power Park in Jacksonville, Florida, was officially retired by co-owners Florida Power & Light and JEA, the municipal electric provider for the City of Jacksonville. The approximately 1,300-MW plant served customers of the two utilities for many years, but the companies said it was no longer economical to operate – the plant was one of the highest-cost generating facilities to run and maintain for both FPL's and JEA's systems. Closure of the plant is projected to prevent more than 5.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually and save FPL customers an estimated $183 million.
FPL Closes Coal-Fired Plant, Opens New Solar Energy Centers

FPL also announced it has opened four new solar power plants comprised of more than 1 million solar panels. These advancements will further improve FPL's carbon emissions profile, which the company claims is already approximately 30 percent cleaner than the U.S. industry average

"The truth is progress like this doesn't happen by accident. It's because of our culture of responsible innovation and an unwavering commitment to customers that we're able to deliver cleaner, more reliable energy while keeping electric bills among the lowest in the country," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.

On Jan. 1, 2018, the following new plants began powering FPL customers:

  • FPL Horizon Solar Energy Center, located in Alachua and Putnam counties
  • FPL Coral Farms Solar Energy Center, Putnam County
  • FPL Indian River Solar Energy Center, Indian River County
  • FPL Wildflower Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County

The company also expects to complete construction on another four solar plants soon:

  • FPL Barefoot Bay Solar Energy Center, Brevard County (entering service by March 1, 2018)
  • FPL Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center, Indian River County (entering service by March 1, 2018)
  • FPL Hammock Solar Energy Center, Hendry County (entering service by March 1, 2018)
  • FPL Loggerhead Solar Energy Center, St. Lucie County (entering service by March 1, 2018)

At 74.5 megawatts each, these solar plants – which encompass approximately 2.6 million solar panels – total nearly 600 megawatts of new zero-emissions energy capacity.

FPL's new solar plants are designed to effectively pay for themselves over their operational lifetimes. Across Florida, FPL has installed more than 3.5 million new solar panels in less than two years. By 2023, FPL expects to grow this to more than 10 million solar panels.

"FPL has a forward-looking strategy of making smart, innovative, long-term investments, including solar, to reduce emissions while providing affordable clean energy for its customers," said Julie Wraithmell, interim executive director of Audubon Florida.

Photo: Barefoot Bay construction (FPL)

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