Powering Florida’s growing population and economy
At FPL, we invest continuously in our electric system to ensure we can provide our customers with a reliable supply of affordable, clean energy – 24 hours every day – now and in the future.
We serve our customers using a diverse mix of resources, including energy efficiency, wholesale electricity purchased from non-FPL power generators and FPL’s advanced fleet of power-generation facilities fueled by natural gas, solar, nuclear and other sources.
To ensure we can continue to meet our customers’ future energy needs, we conduct ongoing, in-depth planning. Based on our annual forecast filed with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) in 2014, we projected a need for more than 1,000 megawatts of additional power generation beginning in 2019 – and more in the years that follow.
Our projected need for additional power takes into account substantial energy conservation and FPL’s three new large-scale solar plants, which began operating in 2016. We’re also building eight additional large-scale solar facilities scheduled to operate by early 2018.
To meet Florida’s growing energy needs, FPL is building the Okeechobee Clean Energy Center, a high-efficiency power-generating facility fueled by clean, U.S.-produced natural gas. It is located on FPL-owned property in northeast Okeechobee County. The new facility – one of the cleanest, most efficient of its kind in the world – will also produce enormous economic benefits for the area.
We continue to share information with public officials, the local community and interested stakeholders throughout the construction of the Okeechobee Clean Energy Center.
There are several reasons why additional firm power generation is needed:
- Growing population – FPL serves more than 4.9 million customer accounts in the state, a number expected to increase by 2019 to 5 million accounts or more - serving approximately 10 million people. Florida is now the third most-populous state in the nation, adding more than 300,000 new residents in 2014.
- Expanding economy – Population growth and increased business activity are major drivers of the state’s strong economic growth.
- Plant retirements – As older, inefficient power plants are retired, customers benefit when we invest in clean, high-efficiency energy centers fueled by natural gas, solar and nuclear – reducing air emissions and saving our customers money on fuel costs.
FPL needs firm new power generation to meet the energy needs of Florida’s growing population and expanding economy.
We work to identify the most cost-effective options for meeting our customers’ power needs. In March 2015, we issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit bids from non-FPL energy providers for more than 1,000 megawatts of firm power generation starting in 2019. Firm generation – the backbone of a reliable energy system – means that electricity is available to our customers at any time of day or night.
Simultaneously, we developed plans for a new power generation facility, the FPL Okeechobee Clean Energy Center, a highly efficient power facility fueled by clean, U.S.-produced natural gas and located on FPL-owned property in northeastern Okeechobee County.
As a result of the RFP process, FPL’s proposed facility was selected as the best, most cost-effective option to serve our customers. An extensive public review and licensing process involving numerous Florida, county, regional and federal agencies was completed in 2016, and plant construction began in early 2017.
The Okeechobee Clean Energy Center will be one of the cleanest, most efficient power plants of its kind in the world. The facility will have a generating capacity of approximately 1,700 megawatts – enough to deliver power around-the-clock to more than 300,000 homes starting in June 2019. Developing a 1,700-megawatt facility is the most cost-effective option for our customers compared to building a smaller plant, and then having to build another facility soon after.
FPL's estimated $1.2 billion investment is producing an average of more than 300 good-paying jobs during the two-year construction schedule – more than 650 during peak work times. Based on similar projects FPL has developed, construction activities alone are expected to have an overall economic benefit to the region of more than $500 million.
In addition, plant operations are projected to produce an estimated $238 million in new tax revenues to Okeechobee County, the school district, regional water management district and other taxing authorities from 2020 to 2049 – an average of nearly $8 million annually.
Site Plan: FPL’s Okeechobee Clean Energy Center comprises 220 acres of our 2,842-acre property. Plans for the parcel also include: potential future solar facility (1,629 acres), wetland preserve (376 acres), open space (104 acres) and pasture (513 acres).
FPL’s Okeechobee Clean Energy Center is producing enormous economic benefits now – primarily construction jobs and economic activity for area businesses – with more to come, including substantial tax revenues. The facility is generating an average of more than 300 jobs during the two-year construction period – more than 650 jobs during peak activity – and approximately 30 permanent positions to operate it. In addition, it is expected to produce $238 million in new tax revenues to Okeechobee County, the school district, the regional water management district and other tax authorities from 2020 to 2049 – an average of nearly $8 million annually.
The facility is also producing indirect benefits through the purchase of goods and services from area businesses – from engineering and design firms to construction subcontractors, suppliers and service providers including service stations, restaurants, lodging and other businesses. Based on similar projects FPL has developed, construction activities alone are expected to have an overall economic benefit to the region of more than $500 million. In addition, the Okeechobee Clean Energy Center will produce clean, affordable electricity for our customers – enough to power more than 300,000 homes.
FPL’s Okeechobee Clean Energy Center will be one of the cleanest, most efficient facilities of its kind in the world. It will be fueled by clean, U.S.-produced natural gas and use proven “combined cycle” power generation technology to minimize air emissions (see the chart below). Our highly efficient facility will also help reduce emissions from FPL’s power generation system by displacing energy that would otherwise be produced by older, less efficient power plants.
The Okeechobee Clean Energy Center successfully completed a detailed review by State of Florida, federal and local agencies to ensure it fully complies with all environmental requirements, including air, water and land use.
We have positioned the new power plant on our 2,800-acre property to avoid or minimize impacts to wetlands, habitat or threatened/endangered species. Our new facility will affect only 20 acres of existing wetland area – nearly all of it comprised of old irrigation ditches – that we’ll more than offset by preserving and enhancing a 376-acre wetland preserve on the property.
In addition to the natural gas-fueled facility, we have designated 1,600 acres of our site for potential large-scale solar power generation, which we hope to add in the future as the cost of solar technology continues to decline.
The new facility is part of FPL’s ongoing program to phase out older, less-efficient power generators and replace them with high-efficiency natural gas facilities, which use about one-third the fuel per unit of energy. Since 2001, our investments have prevented more than 108 million tons of carbon emissions and saved customers $8.6 billion in fuel costs.
Importantly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) “Clean Power Plan” has established target carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for the states to achieve by 2030. FPL’s rate of CO2 emissions today is already cleaner than the rate established by the EPA for Florida to achieve by 2030.
FPL’s Okeechobee Clean Energy Center successfully completed comprehensive reviews by numerous Florida, county, regional and federal agencies in 2016 – see the list below. Plant construction is expected to take nearly two years (2017-2019) before the facility begins generating power for customers in June 2019.