To handle Florida’s expanding population and economy, Tallahassee-based Florida Public Service Commission recently approved Florida Power & Light Co.'s proposed $1.3 billion clean natural gas-powered FPL Okeechobee Clean Energy Center to help cut consumer costs.
With no perceivable impact on rates before its planned startup date, the high-efficiency power plant is scheduled to produce affordable clean energy by mid-2019, with costs partly balanced by fuel cost savings. Locally, the project will create up to 650 jobs during construction, with a $500-million stimulus to the regional economy plus $238 million in tax revenue for Okeechobee County, its school district and related entities.
"The FPL Okeechobee Clean Energy Center represents another major milestone in our successful program of phasing out older power-generating units and investing in new, high-efficiency clean energy centers that reduce emissions and save our customers money on fuel costs," Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO, said.
FPL estimates that an average 1,000-kWh residential customer bill stands at 30 percent below the national median and represents a continuing shift towards greater efficiency over time, thanks to conscious efforts at reducing fuel consumption. In addition, its carbon emission rate already meets and exceeds the goals set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 2030.
"Not only is the FPL Okeechobee Clean Energy Center the most cost-effective option for meeting Florida's future energy needs, it will also help us keep our customers' bills low for the long term and further reduce emissions from our system, which is already among the cleanest and most affordable in the nation," Silagy said.
Florida Power & Light Co., based locally in Miami, is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. FPL is the nation’s third-largest electric utility, serving 4.8 million customers throughout the state.