ARCADIA, Fla. – Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today announced the groundbreaking for FPL’s DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which will bring commercial-scale solar photovoltaic power to Florida for the very first time.
At 25 megawatts, the plant will be the largest photovoltaic solar facility in the nation when it is complete at the end of 2009. The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center will use 90,000 photovoltaic panels on 180 acres of land and provide enough electricity to power more than 3,000 homes, which is nearly 20 percent of the population in DeSoto County.
“We’re proud to be the company that is bringing commercial-scale solar power to the Sunshine State. Solar power will help promote a new clean-energy economy in Florida, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and address global climate change through the production of emissions-free energy,” said FPL Group President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Robo.
Common on rooftops, solar photovoltaic is the technology most people envision when they think of solar energy. Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight directly into electricity, which can be fed onto the electrical grid without the need of a turbine generator. Technological advances are now making photovoltaic panels practical on a large scale.
The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center will use highly efficient SunPower panels and proven SunPower® Tracker technology. The Tracker automatically follows the sun’s movement throughout the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over fixed systems.
The facility will provide significant economic benefits to DeSoto County, creating more than 200 jobs during peak construction and providing more than $2 million in annual tax revenues by the end of 2010 to help boost the local economy.
Solar photovoltaic power also provides significant environmental benefits. It is carbon-free, uses no water, and produces no waste. Over the life of the facility, the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center will avoid the release of more than 575,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to taking more than 4,500 cars off the road every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, the electricity generated by this facility will reduce the use of fossil fuels in Florida by more than 277,000 barrels of oil and seven billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center is one of three new solar facilities FPL is building in Florida, which will total 110 megawatts of clean, renewable solar energy capacity. FPL broke ground in December 2008 on the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which will be the world’s first hybrid solar energy plant and the second largest solar thermal plant in the nation.
It will generate 75 megawatts of solar energy once it is fully operational in 2010. FPL will build a third facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which will add 10 megawatts to the state’s photovoltaic solar capacity.
“These are the kind of technologies we need to bring to Florida to ensure that the state is a key player in the energy economy of the future. We envision a Florida ‘CleanTech Corridor’ spanning the peninsula and filled with renewable and other clean-energy projects. The goal is to make Florida a magnet for renewable manufacturers, for research dollars at the state’s universities, and for good-paying jobs in a dynamic growth industry,” Robo said.
FPL’s three solar projects will make Florida the No. 2 producer of solar energy in the nation and strengthen FPL Group’s position as the nation’s clean energy leader.
Among the company’s clean-energy achievements:
• FPL Group is the nation’s No. 1 producer of renewable energy from wind. The company has 65 projects in 16 states with a capacity of nearly 6,400 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power more than 1.5 million homes and businesses with zero carbon emissions.
• FPL Group is the nation’s No. 1 producer of renewable energy from solar. The company operates the largest solar thermal plant in the world in California’s Mojave Desert, the 310 megawatt Solar Electric Generating Systems.
• FPL is the nation’s No. 1 utility for energy conservation, according to U.S. Department of Energy data. FPL’s conservation programs have helped the company avoid the need to build 12 medium-sized power plants since 1980, more than any other utility.
More information about FPL’s next generation solar energy centers is available at www.FPL.com/solar.
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the United States. FPL serves 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida and is a leading employer in the state with more than 11,000 employees. The company consistently outperforms national averages for service reliability while customer bills are well below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and the No. 1 energy efficiency program among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based FPL Group (NYSE: FPL). For more information, visit www.FPL.com.
Cautionary Statements And Risk Factors That May Affect Future Results
In connection with the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (Reform Act), FPL Group, Inc. (FPL Group) and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) are hereby providing cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause FPL Group's or FPL's actual results to differ materially from those projected in forward-looking statements (as such term is defined in the Reform Act) made by or on behalf of FPL Group and FPL in this press release, on their respective websites, in response to questions or otherwise. Any statements that express, or involve discussions as to, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions, future events or performance, climate change strategy or growth strategies (often, but not always, through the use of words or phrases such as will likely result, are expected to, will continue, is anticipated, aim, believe, could, estimated, may, plan, potential, projection, target, outlook, predict, intend) are not statements of historical facts and may be forward-looking. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions and uncertainties. Accordingly, any such statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to, and are accompanied by, the following important factors (in addition to any assumptions and other factors referred to specifically in connection with such forward-looking statements) that could cause FPL Group's or FPL's actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of FPL Group and FPL.
Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and FPL Group and FPL undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances, including unanticipated events, after the date on which such statement is made. New factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for management to predict all of such factors, nor can it assess the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.
The following are some important factors that could have a significant impact on FPL Group's and FPL's operations and financial results, and could cause FPL Group's and FPL's actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements:
FPL Group and FPL are subject to complex laws and regulations and to changes in laws and regulations as well as changing governmental policies and regulatory actions, including, but not limited to, initiatives regarding deregulation and restructuring of the energy industry and environmental matters, including, but not limited to, matters related to the effects of climate change. FPL holds franchise agreements with local municipalities and counties, and must renegotiate expiring agreements. These factors may have a negative impact on the business and results of operations of FPL Group and FPL.
• FPL Group and FPL are subject to complex laws and regulations, and to changes in laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, as amended, the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005, the Federal Power Act, the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (2005 Energy Act) and certain sections of the Florida statutes relating to public utilities, changing governmental policies and regulatory actions, including, but not limited to, those of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) and the legislatures and utility commissions of other states in which FPL Group has operations, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with respect to, among other things, allowed rates of return, industry and rate structure, operation of nuclear power facilities, construction and operation of plant facilities, construction and operation of transmission and distribution facilities, acquisition, disposal, depreciation and amortization of assets and facilities, recovery of fuel and purchased power costs, decommissioning costs, return on common equity and equity ratio limits, and present or prospective wholesale and retail competition (including, but not limited to, retail wheeling and transmission costs). The FPSC has the authority to disallow recovery by FPL of any and all costs that it considers excessive or imprudently incurred. The regulatory process generally restricts FPL's ability to grow earnings and does not provide any assurance as to achievement of earnings levels.
• FPL Group and FPL are subject to extensive federal, state and local environmental statutes, rules and regulations, as well as the effect of changes in or additions to applicable statutes, rules and regulations relating to air quality, water quality, climate change, waste management, marine and wildlife mortality, natural resources and health and safety that could, among other things, restrict or limit the output of certain facilities or the use of certain fuels required for the production of electricity and/or require additional pollution control equipment and otherwise increase costs. There are significant capital, operating and other costs associated with compliance with these environmental statutes, rules and regulations, and those costs could be even more significant in the future.
• FPL Group and FPL operate in a changing market environment influenced by various legislative and regulatory initiatives regarding deregulation, regulation or restructuring of the energy industry, including, but not limited to, deregulation or restructuring of the production and sale of electricity, as well as increased focus on renewable energy sources. FPL Group and its subsidiaries will need to adapt to these changes and may face increasing competitive pressure.
• FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations could be affected by FPL's ability to renegotiate franchise agreements with municipalities and counties in Florida.
The operation and maintenance of transmission, distribution and power generation facilities, including nuclear facilities, involve significant risks that could adversely affect the results of operations and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL.
• The operation and maintenance of transmission, distribution and power generation facilities involve many risks, including, but not limited to, start up risks, breakdown or failure of equipment, transmission and distribution lines or pipelines, the inability to properly manage or mitigate known equipment defects throughout FPL Group's and FPL's generation fleets and transmission and distribution systems unless and until such defects are remediated, use of new technology, the dependence on a specific fuel source, including the supply and transportation of fuel, or the impact of unusual or adverse weather conditions (including, but not limited to, natural disasters such as hurricanes and droughts), as well as the risk of performance below expected or contracted levels of output or efficiency. This could result in lost revenues and/or increased expenses, including, but not limited to, the requirement to purchase power in the market at potentially higher prices to meet contractual obligations.
Insurance, warranties or performance guarantees may not cover any or all of the lost revenues or increased expenses, including, but not limited to, the cost of replacement power. In addition to these risks, FPL Group's and FPL's nuclear units face certain risks that are unique to the nuclear industry including, but not limited to, the ability to store and/or dispose of spent nuclear fuel and the potential payment of significant retrospective insurance premiums, as well as additional regulatory actions up to and including shutdown of the units stemming from public safety concerns, whether at FPL Group's and FPL's plants, or at the plants of other nuclear operators. Breakdown or failure of an operating facility of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (NextEra Energy Resources) may prevent the facility from performing under applicable power sales agreements which, in certain situations, could result in termination of the agreement or incurring a liability for liquidated damages.
The construction of, and capital improvements to, power generation facilities, including nuclear facilities, involve substantial risks. Should construction or capital improvement efforts be unsuccessful, the results of operations and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL could be adversely affected.
• FPL Group's and FPL's ability to successfully and timely complete their power generation facilities currently under construction, those projects yet to begin construction or capital improvements to existing facilities within established budgets is contingent upon many variables, including, but not limited to, transmission interconnection issues and escalating costs for materials, labor and environmental compliance, and subject to substantial risks. Should any such efforts be unsuccessful, FPL Group and FPL could be subject to additional costs, termination payments under committed contracts, and/or the write-off of their investment in the project or improvement.
The use of derivative contracts by FPL Group and FPL in the normal course of business could result in financial losses that negatively impact the results of operations of FPL Group and FPL.
• FPL Group and FPL use derivative instruments, such as swaps, options and forwards to manage their commodity and financial market risks. FPL Group provides full energy and capacity requirements services primarily to distribution utilities and engages in energy trading activities. FPL Group could recognize financial losses as a result of volatility in the market values of these derivative instruments, or if a counterparty fails to perform. In the absence of actively quoted market prices and pricing information from external sources, the valuation of these derivative instruments involves management's judgment or use of estimates. As a result, changes in the underlying assumptions or use of alternative valuation methods could affect the reported fair value of these derivative instruments. In addition, FPL's use of such instruments could be subject to prudency challenges and if found imprudent, cost recovery could be disallowed by the FPSC.
FPL Group's competitive energy business is subject to risks, many of which are beyond the control of FPL Group, including, but not limited to, the ability to efficiently develop and operate generating assets, the successful and timely completion of project restructuring activities, the price and supply of fuel, transmission constraints, competition from other generators, including those utilizing new sources of generation, excess generation capacity and demand for power, that may reduce the revenues and adversely impact the results of operations and financial condition of FPL Group.
• There are other risks associated with FPL Group's competitive energy business. In addition to risks discussed elsewhere, risk factors specifically affecting NextEra Energy Resources’ success in competitive wholesale markets include, but are not limited to, the ability to efficiently develop and operate generating assets, the successful and timely completion of project restructuring activities, maintenance of the qualifying facility status of certain projects, the price and supply of fuel (including transportation), transmission constraints, competition from new sources of generation, excess generation capacity and demand for power. There can be significant volatility in market prices for fuel and electricity, and there are other financial, counterparty and market risks that are beyond the control of NextEra Energy Resources. NextEra Energy Resources’ inability or failure to effectively hedge its assets or positions against changes in commodity prices, interest rates, counterparty credit risk or other risk measures could significantly impair FPL Group's future financial results. In keeping with industry trends, a portion of NextEra Energy Resources' power generation facilities operate wholly or partially without long-term power purchase agreements. As a result, power from these facilities is sold on the spot market or on a short-term contractual basis, which may affect the volatility of FPL Group's financial results. In addition, NextEra Energy Resources’ business depends upon transmission facilities owned and operated by others; if transmission is disrupted or capacity is inadequate or unavailable, NextEra Energy Resources’ ability to sell and deliver its wholesale power may be limited.
FPL Group's ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate acquisitions is subject to significant risks, including, but not limited to, the effect of increased competition for acquisitions resulting from the consolidation of the power industry.
• FPL Group is likely to encounter significant competition for acquisition opportunities that may become available as a result of the consolidation of the power industry, in general, as well as the passage of the 2005 Energy Act.
In addition, FPL Group may be unable to identify attractive acquisition opportunities at favorable prices and to complete and integrate them successfully and in a timely manner.
Adverse capital and credit market conditions may adversely affect FPL Group's and FPL's ability to meet liquidity needs, access capital and operate and grow their businesses, and the cost of capital. Disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the financial markets can also adversely impact the results of operations and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL, as well as exert downward pressure on stock prices.
• Having access to the credit and capital markets, at a reasonable cost, is necessary for FPL Group and FPL to fund their operations, including their capital requirements. Those markets provide FPL Group and FPL with the liquidity to operate and grow their businesses that is not otherwise provided from operating cash flows. Disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in those markets can also increase FPL Group's and FPL's cost of capital. If FPL Group and FPL are unable to access the credit and capital markets on terms that are reasonable, they may have to delay raising capital, issue shorter-term securities and/or bear an unfavorable cost of capital, which, in turn, could impact their ability to grow their businesses, decrease earnings, significantly reduce financial flexibility and/or limit FPL Group's ability to sustain its current common stock dividend level.
• The market price and trading volume of FPL Group's common stock could be subject to significant fluctuations due to, among other things, general stock market conditions and changes in market sentiment regarding FPL Group and its subsidiaries' operations, business, growth prospects and financing strategies.
FPL Group’s, FPL Group Capital Inc’s (FPL Group Capital) and FPL’s inability to maintain their current credit ratings may adversely affect FPL Group’s and FPL’s liquidity, limit the ability of FPL Group and FPL to grow their businesses, and would likely increase interest costs.
• FPL Group and FPL rely on access to capital markets as significant sources of liquidity for capital requirements not satisfied by operating cash flows. The inability of FPL Group, FPL Group Capital and FPL to maintain their current credit ratings could affect their ability to raise capital on favorable terms, which, in turn, could impact FPL Group's and FPL's ability to grow their businesses and would likely increase their interest costs.
FPL Group and FPL are subject to credit and performance risk from third parties under supply and service contracts.
• FPL Group and FPL rely on contracts with vendors for the supply of materials, fuel and other goods and services required for the construction and operation of their facilities, as well as for business operations. If vendors fail to fulfill their contractual obligations, FPL Group and FPL may need to make arrangements with other suppliers, which could result in higher costs, untimely completion of power generation facilities and other projects, and/or a disruption to their operations.
Customer growth and customer usage in FPL's service area affect FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations.
• FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations are affected by the growth in customer accounts in FPL's service area and customer usage. Customer growth can be affected by population growth. Customer growth and customer usage can be affected by economic factors in Florida, including, but not limited to, job and income growth, housing starts and new home prices. Customer growth and customer usage directly influence the demand for electricity and the need for additional power generation and power delivery facilities at FPL.
Weather affects FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations, as can the impact of severe weather. Weather conditions directly influence the demand for electricity and natural gas, affect the price of energy commodities, and can affect the production of electricity at power generating facilities.
• FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations are affected by changes in the weather. Weather conditions directly influence the demand for electricity and natural gas, affect the price of energy commodities, and can affect the production of electricity at power generating facilities, including, but not limited to, wind, solar and hydro-powered facilities. FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations can be affected by the impact of severe weather which can be destructive, causing outages and/or property damage, may affect fuel supply, and could require additional costs to be incurred. At FPL, recovery of these costs is subject to FPSC approval.
FPL Group and FPL are subject to costs and other potentially adverse effects of legal and regulatory proceedings, as well as regulatory compliance and changes in or additions to applicable tax laws, rates or policies, rates of inflation, accounting standards, securities laws and corporate governance requirements.
• FPL Group and FPL are subject to costs and other effects of legal and regulatory proceedings, settlements, investigations and claims, as well as regulatory compliance and the effect of new, or changes in, tax laws, rates or policies, rates of inflation, accounting standards, securities laws and corporate governance requirements.
Threats of terrorism and catastrophic events that could result from terrorism, cyber attacks, or individuals and/or groups attempting to disrupt FPL Group's and FPL's business may impact the operations of FPL Group and FPL in unpredictable ways.
• FPL Group and FPL are subject to direct and indirect effects of terrorist threats and activities, as well as cyber attacks and disruptive activities of individuals and/or groups. Infrastructure facilities and systems, including, but not limited to, generation, transmission and distribution facilities, physical assets and information systems, in general, have been identified as potential targets. The effects of these threats and activities include, but are not limited to, the inability to generate, purchase or transmit power, the delay in development and construction of new generating facilities, the risk of a significant slowdown in growth or a decline in the U.S. economy, delay in economic recovery in the U.S., and the increased cost and adequacy of security and insurance.
The ability of FPL Group and FPL to obtain insurance and the terms of any available insurance coverage could be adversely affected by national, state or local events and company-specific events.
• FPL Group's and FPL's ability to obtain insurance, and the cost of and coverage provided by such insurance, could be adversely affected by national, state or local events as well as company-specific events.
FPL Group and FPL are subject to employee workforce factors that could adversely affect the businesses and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL.
• FPL Group and FPL are subject to employee workforce factors, including, but not limited to, loss or retirement of key executives, availability of qualified personnel, inflationary pressures on payroll and benefits costs, collective bargaining agreements with union employees and work stoppage that could adversely affect the businesses and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL.
The risks described herein are not the only risks facing FPL Group and FPL. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to FPL Group or FPL, or that are currently deemed to be immaterial, also may materially adversely affect FPL Group's or FPL's business, financial condition and/or future operating results.