Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) and the Jacksonville Energy Authority announced on May 22 that they filed a plan to shutter the 1.3 gigawatt coal-fired St. Johns River Power Park plant near Jacksonville, FL, by the end of 2017. In its stead, FPL will develop 2.1 gigawatts of utility-scale solar by 2023 and modernize other facilities. The moves are expected to save its customers an estimated $183 million and decrease carbon gas emissions by 5.6 million tons annually.
"Our strategy of phasing out older power-generating units and investing in new, high-efficiency clean energy centers continues to save customers millions of dollars on fuel costs and reduce air emissions,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.
With 335 megawatts of solar already installed and operational across six facilities, FPL plans to add eight more solar plants totaling 600 megawatts by April 2018. The utility has also started evaluating property in Miami-Dade County and Lake City, FL, to develop an additional 1.5 gigawatts of utility-scale solar between 2019 and 2023.
FLP also is continuing to invest in fuel-efficient natural gas technology and plans to transform its Lauderdale Plant into the Dania Beach Clean Energy Center, a 1.2 gigawatt, high-efficiency natural gas burning facility. The transition is projected to save customers nearly $400 million in net cost savings during the course of the facility’s time in operation.
"The modernization of our Dania Beach property–home to FPL power plants for nearly a century–will enable us to continue to meet South Florida's energy needs while reducing emissions and FPL's use of natural gas systemwide,” said Silagy.
"Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is critical to addressing climate change," said Greg Knecht, deputy executive director of the Florida chapter of The Nature Conservancy. "Any time we can replace less efficient sources of energy with cleaner fuels or solar, it's a benefit for people and nature. Investments such as FPL's in clean energy technologies are key to Florida's future health and prosperity."
St. Johns is the third coal-fired power plant that FLP has proposed closing in the last two years. The utility purchased the existing contract for the Cedar Bay plant in Jacksonville and shut down its operations at the end of 2016. Additionally, FLP is in process of closing its Indiantown plant in Martin County, FL, by the end of 2019.Tweet