Florida Power & Light Co., a unit of renewable energy developer NextEra Energy Inc., is taking the unusual step of acquiring a coal-fired power plant for US$520 million and then shut it down to show its commitment to clean energy.
FPL filed a petition with the Florida Public Service Commission to request approval to acquire the 250-megawatt Cedar Bay plant that it has had under a long-term contract to purchase power since 1988. Upon taking ownership of the plant in Jacksonville, Florida, FPL said it plans to immediately terminate the contract and reduce the plant’s operations by 90%, with the intention of eventually phasing the plant out of service.
This is expected to save FPL customers an estimated US$70 million and prevent nearly 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the company said. “Although years ago it made sense to buy this plant’s power to serve our customers, times have changed,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.
“We have invested billions of dollars to improve the efficiency of our system, reduce our fuel consumption, prevent emissions and cut costs for our customers. Now we’re in a position to take ownership of the facility and effectively buy out an outmoded contract with the goal of ultimately phasing the plant out of service, which will mean reduced carbon emissions and millions of dollars in savings for our customers.”
In 1988, the Florida Public Service Commission approved a long-term purchased-power agreement between FPL and the direct owner of the Cedar Bay plant, Cedar Bay Generating Co. FPL said it can now generate electricity at a much lower cost and the plant emits very high rates of CO2 compared with FPL’s current generation plants.