The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Florida Power & Light Co.’s proposal to modernize its Port Everglades Next Generation Energy Center in Broward County.
With today’s approval, FPL plans to construct a 1,277 megawatt combined cycle natural gas unit at its existing site beginning commercial operation in June 2016 and providing enough energy to power 260,000 homes and businesses. The modernization will improve FPL’s overall system efficiency, enhance fuel supply reliability, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Making sure Florida’s energy supply is dependable and cost effective protects consumers now and in the future,” said PSC Chairman Ronald A. Brisé. “This modernization will produce more efficient, cleaner energy, and the plant’s port location will maintain system reliability since backup fuel, if needed, can be delivered via water.”
Four 1960s-era oil and natural gas fueled steam electric generating units currently at the site will be dismantled as part of the construction project. The new Port Everglades facility is projected to save FPL customers $469 million, when compared to continued use of the existing units. Contributing to the project’s cost effectiveness are FPL’s use of an existing site, existing infrastructure, and existing transmission system connectivity. Construction will begin in 2014 and is expected to generate 650 jobs.
A PSC hearing on February 20 provided an opportunity for public comment and for the utility, Commission staff, and an intervenor, Florida Power Industrial Users Group, to present evidence about the need for the proposed modernization.
As part of the need determination process, the PSC considers the need for electric system reliability and integrity, adequate electricity at a reasonable cost, fuel diversity, and fuel supply reliability. The Commission also considers whether renewable energy sources and technologies, as well as conservation measures, are used to the extent reasonably available.