General

Is it true that Florida is not windy enough to make wind power worth pursuing?

Overall, Florida is not a windy state. That is why wind turbines must be place on the coast where winds are moderate enough for the turbines to generate electricity.

Why not build the wind turbines offshore where the wind is greater?

The challenges presented with constructing in the ocean and cost of maintenance due to sea-spray makes this cost-prohibitive. Also, oceans are considered federal public lands and the permitting process is much more complex.

How much electricity is generated through wind, compared to other energy sources?

Every little bit of emissions-free energy helps, while we know Florida wind is not nearly as abundant as in other places, we will make use of what we can to supplement our power supply.

Is solar power more efficient and cost effective than wind power?

No, commercial solar has not seen the technological advances that wind has over the past few years. While solar is a viable option in Florida, wind must also be built in order to be economically responsible and diverse. Solar consumes a great deal of land, when compared to wind, and some solar technologies consume water.

What happens to wind turbines if there is a hurricane or high winds due to a storm?

Turbines are built to withstand high winds – FPL Energy’s turbines are currently located from the Dakotas through Texas, areas which are prone to tornados and there have been no safety issues. In sustained winds of 56 mph or gusts of about 100 mph, turbines automatically shut down.

Just like any piece of moving equipment, when a hurricane is coming we do everything we can to take safety precautions.

Are wind turbines noisy?

When people stand underneath or near them, they are able to carry on conversations in a normal voice without a problem. Wind turbines have moving parts, but the sound they make is virtually undetectable from a distance and is usually at its loudest at slower wind speeds.

What experience does FPL have with wind power?

FPL’s sister company, FPL Energy, is the largest producer of wind in the U.S. and the second largest in the world. FPL will draw from this expertise for wind projects in Florida.

St. Lucie

Why do you want to build wind turbines here?

St. Lucie County has shown considerable support for renewable energy and being progressive in supporting "green" initiatives. We have had encouragement and cooperation from some of the St. Lucie County Commissioners to work towards placing wind turbines in the county.

How many wind turbines are being proposed?

Currently the proposal includes a total of nine turbines. Six are being proposed for FPL land adjacent to the St. Lucie nuclear plant and the other three have been proposed for Blind Creek (three acres of the total 412 acres at Blind Creek; or less than 1% of B.C.)

How tall are these structures?

Just under 400 feet tall (394 ft).

How much power can each turbine produce?

Approximately 2.3 megawatts (1MW powers about 300 customers).

It seems like such a small project and will not generate much power. Why bother?

FPL would love to make this a larger project, but the accessible contiguous land is limited. However with the improvements in wind technology and efficiencies, this project will generate as much energy as an FPL Energy wind farm containing 110 turbines that uses older technology.

St. Lucie Nuclear Plant already produces an abundant source of power - how can you justify tens of millions of dollars for 20 megawatts?

At FPL we are in the business of producing clean, reliable power at a reasonable price. Producing even a small amount of emissions-free wind energy will help us get closer to our goal. The price for wind is considerably higher than for fossil fuel generation. The good news is that wind facilities, once constructed, have no fuel costs because the wind is free, and there is little in the way of maintenance expense.

Every bit counts, there are currently more than 115 smaller, successful wind generation projects in the U.S. As a matter of fact, FPL Energy operates two smaller projects in Pennsylvania (Somerset County – six turbines; Garrett County – eight turbines).

How close will the turbines be to any homes or businesses?

We are still in the planning phases in regards to specific turbine locations. Our plan is not to locate any turbine closer than one-half mile from an existing structure.

How far will the turbines be from the Nuclear Plant?

For safety purposes, FPL imposes a 2500 ft easement from any structure and 1000 from each turbine.

Will this harm the value of my property or home?

FPL and our sister company FPL Energy are unaware of decreases in property values due to a wind facility being located nearby. In fact, there are two studies, one from academia and the other from the National Renewable Energy labs that have data that shows the opposite to be true.

What are the economic impacts of the wind turbines?

Wind has many economic impacts, from construction and maintenance to leases, land purchases and property taxes. As a matter of fact, this project will provide St. Lucie County an economic impact of up to $7 million year, as well as new local jobs during construction and operation stages.

Moving sites

Why did FPL amend applications in St. Lucie County to rezone properties proposed for wind turbines and remove John Brooks and Frederick Douglass Parks from consideration?

As good neighbors in the community, FPL is sensitive to citizens’ views about wind. We have listened to concerns about the placement of wind turbines on county land – We know there is a call for clean generation in the state, and the key is to identify the best location to make wind power a reality in St. Lucie County.

Why did you select this state-owned site?

After additional review and analysis of the entire coast of St. Lucie County and discussions with the South Florida Water Management District and the state, we determined that putting wind turbines on these sites would not change the character of the land. Since this land has no currently public access, and is densely covered with vegetation, any development of wind turbines would use a small area of the land, and then return it to its natural state. In discussions with the owners of the property, we had very positive feedback about the possibility of placing wind turbines on this site. This land will still be remote, but may become a bit more accessible to the public.

If FPL can place one more turbine on its own land near the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant than you thought before, why can’t you put them all there?

As with all development efforts, maximizing the amount of power we produce from a resource is the ultimate goal, but in doing so we are respectful to the environmental and economic consequences of these actions. In the attempt to achieve this we were able to safely and economically add one more wind turbine generator to our property.

This now uses every bit of available space on FPL property. This would be the first time that wind turbines would be placed on the site of any nuclear project in the United States. Therefore, there is a lot of due diligence work to make sure this doesn’t compromise any operation of the nuclear plant.

Why did you select the parcel of undeveloped state-owned land adjacent to the plant’s property to the north as a possible location for the wind turbines?

Like all of the sites we have chosen to consider for this project, it met a list of requirements established for public safety, environmental reasons and resource maximization.

For wind turbines, we need at least ½ miles away from any development, several hundred feet away from the road, with minimal impact on wetlands impact. There are very few large parcels available for consideration. This one is an excellent location due to its proximity to the other six turbine sites.

Why can't you just go out and buy real estate on the market?

We have been looking at many real estate sites on the island. Most of them are next to private parcels that could be developed, and have not met the criteria we need as far as being contiguous sites that don’t involve some wetlands while being close to our site.

What is the property you are proposing currently being used for?

It is currently undeveloped coastal land that is owned by the state and the South Florida Water Management District. It is not accessible to the public.

What will placing a wind turbine on this site do to it?

That will depend on the desires of the land owners. If they want us to make it more accessible to increase the use of the property for recreation, we may improve it in a way that is pleasing to the owners. Some examples of this are building a parking lot, giving better access to the park from the highway, adding a picnic pavilion or adding an educational kiosk.

Environmental

Do wind turbines kill birds?

Any structure built by humans can be struck by birds. Sometimes birds do hit wind turbines. The numbers of birds killed by hitting wind turbines is small compared to bird deaths resulting from other Sources such as glass windows, cars, cats and other commonly accepted parts of our lives. Much study has been done in the past 10 years on birds and wind turbine interactions and much is known.

Why not place the turbines on the highest points in Florida, at landfills or in agricultural lands in the state?

First there’s the issue of wind, the only consistent wind needed to allow the turbines to generate electricity is found on Florida’s coast. There is also the issue of avian impact. Landfills have very high concentration of birds. Unfortunately, Florida agricultural land is located too far inland to receive the necessary wind.

Will the turbines cause beach erosion?

No, turbines to not cause beach erosion. As a matter of fact, turbines, through emissions free energy help combat climate change…one of the key contributors to beach erosion.

Will the turbines be placed near dense vegetation or mangroves?

Yes, they maybe. However, FPL will restore the area to its natural state after construction. FPL is recognized nationally for its environmental stewardship.

Will the turbines disrupt nesting sea turtles or other marine life?

No, there is no evidence or research that suggests wind turbines disrupt nesting turtles or their offspring. Since, the turbines are proposed to be on the Island, there is no disruption whatsoever to marine life.

How much of the natural environment will be impacted by the construction of the turbines?

Minimal land will be disrupted. The current proposal potentially sites three turbines on Blind Creek land, approximately 412 acres. The total impact to Blind Creek would just under three acres or less than one percent of the land. Following construction, FPL will restore the area to its natural state. FPL is recognized nationally for its environmental stewardship.

What impact will these turbines have on the local environment?

Yes, in a very positive manner. Wind turbines use no fuel or water and produce no waste. The proposed project, if constructed, will prevent more than 36,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from entering the air each year. That is equivalent to avoiding emissions from nearly 6,000 cars per year on Florida roads.