Juno Beach, FL – This year’s scorching summer temperatures nationwide have pushed electricity demand to record levels and underscored the need to conserve and use energy efficiently. For the past 25 years, Florida Power & Light Company and its customers have implemented one of the most successful conservation and energy management programs in the country.
With more than 1.87 million customers in total participating during the past two decades, enough energy demand reduction has been accomplished (4,223 megawatts) to avoid building the equivalent of 10 medium-sized power plants. FPL’s partnership with its customers in conservation and energy management programs has proven so successful that within the next decade FPL is planning to reduce summer peak demand by an additional 1,200 megawatts, which represents the summer peak energy needs of nearly 400,000 homes. The ability to work with its customers in electricity demand reduction initiatives has provided FPL the ability to maintain a 20 percent reserve margin with less generation capacity on its electric grid, and has improved reliability while generating savings to customers since it avoids the need to build more power plants.
Investing in Conservation
In 2005, the company invested more than $100 million on conservation programs and energy management incentives. According to the latest US Department of Energy (DOE) report on conservation programs, FPL was rated number one among utilities nationwide. While FPL’s customer base of 4.4 million accounts represents only three percent of electricity consumers’ nationwide, FPL customer participation in energy conservation programs represents 13 percent of the entire U.S. electric utility conservation effort. In energy management programs - initiatives that help reduce the overall load on the electric grid during periods of high usage - FPL customer participation equaled six percent of the entire U.S. electric utility load reduction effort. DOE statistics indicate that the FPL energy management programs are ranked fourth among all utilities in the nation.
Partnership with Customers
In the past two decades, FPL has conducted more than two million home energy surveys and provided more than a million customers with incentives to purchase high efficiency air conditioning units. Currently, more than 728,000 FPL customers out of 4.4 million participate in the company’s On Call® energy management or load control program. The On Call® program allows pool pumps, air conditioning units and hot water heaters to be turned off for a few minutes during the peak usage times of day and provides the customer with a credit on their bill.
In the first six months of 2006, more than 10,600 customers signed up for On Call® compared to 3,500 during the same timeframe in 2005, an indication that FPL customers are aware of the value participating in this energy management program brings.
As part of its outreach campaign to let customers know of the benefits of joining these energy usage programs, the company has established a solid business relationship with more than 1,300 participating independent contractors that are trained and qualified to provide FPL customers with:
- Upgraded energy efficient heating and cooling systems;
- Repairs to leaking ductwork that wastes energy;
- Increased attic insulation in homes where it is inadequate, and
- Weatherization for low-income customers.
The Florida Public Service Commission also has been a constant partner in providing regulatory guidance and advice on energy management and conservation programs, and is an integral part of FPL’s success with these programs.
Energy efficient homes
In addition, FPL’s BuildSmart® program works with new home builders and buyers to construct energy-efficient homes. This program provides assistance to builder’s throughout the construction process, by inspecting the project during construction and verifying with the State of Florida that the residence meets certain standards for energy efficiency, which can be tied directly to cost savings for the homeowner.
Renewable Energy Resources
Residential customers can also join Sunshine Energy®, a program that provides customers with the opportunity to purchase credits that FPL uses to ensure that cleaner electricity from sources like wind, bioenergy and solar is generated and delivered to power systems serving Florida and other states nationwide. FPL’s Sunshine Energy® is one of the fastest growing in the Southeast United States as measured by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and in 2005, it received DOE’s Green Power Leadership Award.
The company is encouraging the development of cost-effective generation from renewable resources to diversify its fuel sources and move away from those with high-cost volatility to those more stable in price. The company is currently purchasing power from qualifying facilities using biomass, waste heat, municipal waste and bagasse/by-products. FPL is also pursuing the following renewable energy options:
Solar – Through its Sunshine Energy® program, FPL has selected Rothenbach Park in Sarasota County as the site for its first solar array. The 250-kilowatt solar facility will be the largest solar array in Florida and one of the largest in the Southeast. Construction is scheduled to begin late in 2006.
Wind – FPL is actively investigating a site for a wind demonstration project in the 10-megawatt range that will result in the installation of two to five wind turbines. Locations in Central, Northeast or West Coast of Florida are being evaluated.
Ocean currents -- FPL is presently talking with companies that are exploring harnessing the power of ocean currents to generate electricity.
FPL Group – FPL Energy, leader in wind and solar energy
In addition, FPL Group, the parent company of FPL, through its subsidiary FPL Energy, is the largest owner and operator of wind and solar energy in the United States. The company's 47 wind facilities - located in 15 states - have a capacity of more than 3,700 megawatts. In solar, FPL Energy is the largest generator of solar power in the U.S. with 310 megawatts in operation and 150 megawatts company-owned.