April 22, 2008
Hutchinson Island wind speeds strong enough to produce substantial electricity, study finds

 JUNO BEACH, Fla. – Hutchinson Island’s average annual wind speed of 13.8 mph is strong enough for Florida Power & Light Company’s proposed wind farm to generate substantial electricity, according to an analysis by WindLogics Inc., a leading global atmospheric modeling firm that forecasts wind resources. WindLogics is owned by FPL’s sister company, FPL Energy, which owns and operates 56 wind sites across the United States. 

The WindLogics analysis concludes that FPL’s six proposed turbines will generate up to 13.8 megawatts of power, or nearly 22 million kilowatt hours annually, enough to provide electricity to 3,600 people. The study includes five years of measurements collected from an on-site meteorological tower. Hutchinson Island’s average monthly wind speeds range from 10.8 mph in August to 16.5 mph in November. Wind energy can be generated at speeds as low as 6.7 mph with the wind turbine FPL is considering for use on its Hutchinson Island property. The study examined wind speeds at 262.5 feet above ground level, which is the typical height at which wind power is generated.  

According to data from the American Wind Energy Association, there are currently more than 200 wind farms nationwide that generate less energy than the 13.8 megawatts capable of being produced by the St. Lucie wind project.  

“This detailed analysis provides clear evidence that the St. Lucie Wind project is expected to produce substantial amounts of emissions-free energy. The roughly $45 million total cost of the project works out to about 33 cents a year for the average FPL customer, or less than the price of a postage stamp. Given its strong environmental attributes, very reasonable cost and local economic benefits, we think the project deserves serious consideration in St. Lucie County,” said Eric Silagy, FPL vice president and chief development officer.                                                         

In public opinion survey research conducted last month, more than eight out of 10 St. Lucie County residents said they support FPL’s proposal to build six wind turbines on company-owned property on Hutchinson Island. More broadly, the research found strong support for the use of clean wind energy in general, with 87 percent saying they like the idea of wind power and 86 percent supporting the use of wind to increase the supply of electricity in Florida.  

FPL Group, the parent company of FPL, is the nation’s No. 1 producer of renewable energy from wind and solar. Wind technology continues to improve and evolve, which allows for more energy to be captured using lower wind speeds and fewer turbines. By applying new advancements in technology and its experience developing, constructing and operating wind farms across the United States, FPL Group has dramatically enhanced the efficiency of its wind facilities. The six planned turbines can now generate as much electricity as a 138-turbine farm could 20 years ago. 

FPL and St. Lucie County announced plans in June 2007 to explore building a wind power project on Hutchinson Island as part of the company’s effort to expand renewable energy projects in the state. FPL’s proposed wind installation would be the first wind project in Florida. The St. Lucie County Board of Commissioners must approve FPL’s conditional use, zoning and height-amendment applications before the company moves forward. For the wind analysis results, click here

Florida Power & Light Company is a 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 over $15 billion and a growing presence in 27 states, FPL Group is widely recognized as one of the country’s premier power companies. Florida Power & Light Company serves 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida. FPL Energy, LLC, FPL Group’s competitive energy subsidiary is the nation’s leader in producing electricity from clean and renewable sources such as solar and wind. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.FPL.com, www.FPLGroup.com and www.FPLEnergy.com.