February 7, 2006
New power plant needed to meet customer growth and electricity demand; FPL’s West County Energy Center project deemed most cost-effective option
JUNO BEACH, Fla. – Florida Power & Light Company today announced that its West County Energy Center proposal has been determined to be the best and most cost-effective option to provide additional electricity for FPL customers beginning in 2009. Under FPL’s proposal, a new power plant, featuring two natural gas fired units of approximately 1,200 megawatts each, would be built on a 220-acre site in western Palm Beach County.
Based on FPL’s growth forecast, the new plant will meet the increasing demand for electricity from existing and new customers throughout FPL’s service territory, but particularly in Palm Beach and surrounding counties. While all 33 FPL generating units and its thousands of substations and power lines are all connected in a single electric grid system that serves all its customers regardless of location, it’s beneficial to add new generating resources near major growth areas to adequately and cost-effectively maintain system balance and reliability.
The population in Palm Beach County has increased 30 percent in the last decade and the number of customer accounts has grown from under 487,000 in 1990 to more than 675,000 in 2005. Since the year 2000, FPL is adding about 15,000 new customer accounts in Palm Beach County each year. In neighboring Martin and St. Lucie counties, the number of customers has increased by 21% since 2000.
“Once completed, the West County Energy Center will benefit Palm Beach and neighboring counties with a highly efficient power source located adjacent to where the growth is taking place,” said FPL President, Armando Olivera.
Project Timeline and Cost
Competitive Bidding Process
In the first quarter of 2006, FPL will file for a Determination of Need petition with the Florida Public Service Commission. If the FPSC approves the petition, a decision may be rendered by mid-2006. The next steps are a number of environmental permitting approvals followed by a review before the Governor and the Florida Cabinet Siting Board. The first generating unit at the West Palm Beach County site is expected to be completed by 2009 and the second unit by June 2010. The cost of the total project is nearly $1.2 billion
FPL initiated a two-part Request for Proposal (RFP) in the summer of 2005 as part of its ten-year plan to meet the growing need for power and maintain a balanced fuel supply. Part 1 of the RFP identified the best option to meet the power requirements needed between 2009 and 2011.
As described in the RFP, in order to identify the best option for meeting customer’s needs, the utility develops a self-build proposal and then uses a competitive bidding process to solicit proposals from other companies. The utility received proposals from three other companies to provide power generation including Progress Energy Florida, Progress Energy Ventures, and Southern Power Company. A comprehensive economic evaluation determined that the West County Energy Center proposal would provide significant savings to FPL customers over the 25-year project life when compared to all the other alternatives.
The comprehensive bidding process and evaluation of alternative proposals was conducted in full compliance with the rules established by the FPSC to determine the most cost-effective alternative to meet the need for added generation capacity.
Second Phase of RFP
With the selection of the West County Energy Center, the first part of the two-part RFP process is concluded. Part 2 of the RFP focuses on additional generation to meet growth demands for the period between 2012 and 2014. An RFP supplement will be issued later in 2006 soliciting proposals to compete with FPL’s proposed coal generation additions. FPL will restrict interested bidders to coal projects, as part of the company’s long-term plan to maintain and expand its fuel diversity, which today includes nuclear, oil, gas, coal and purchased power.
“There are significant challenges in building a power plant in Florida, particularly a coal plant. But it is critical that we continue to develop different sources of energy to meet the growing electrical demand in our state,” said Olivera. “We are employing the most advanced technology so our new plants are fuel efficient and protective of the environment. By effectively planning for the future, we are ensuring that our customers have reliable power when and where they need it.”
Customers are invited to learn more about the West County Energy Center proposal, share interests and priorities, request a presentation or sign up to be on a mailing list for future updates by visiting www.FPL.com/westcounty or by calling 1-800-581-3990.
Florida Power & Light Company is the principal subsidiary of FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE: FPL), nationally known as a high quality, efficient and customer -driven organization focused on energy-related products and services. With annual revenues of more than $10 billion and a growing presence in 26 states, FPL Group is widely recognized as one of the country’s premier power companies. Florida Power & Light Company serves 4.3 million customer accounts in Florida . FPL Energy, LLC, FPL Group’s wholesale electricity generating subsidiary, is a leader in producing electricity from clean and renewable fuels. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.FPL.com, www.FPLGroup.com and www.FPLEnergy.com.