New Cape Canaveral comes online as part of FPL building spree

Florida Power & Light (FPL) has reached another milestone in its building program for new low-emission generation with completion of a new 1,200-MW combined-cycle gas plant.

The NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) subsidiary said April 24 that its Cape Canaveral Next Generation center has started producing electricity.

FPL has been tearing down old oil and gas-fueled plants and replacing them with newer combined-cycle gas plants. In 2011, for example, FPL brought online the last of three big combined-cycle plants at its West County station in Palm Beach County.

Texas-based Zachry Holdings handled the engineering and construction work for Cape Canaveral, said an FPL spokesperson.

FPL invested approximately $900m to build the facility, which was constructed on the site of a 1960s-era plant that the company took down in 2010. Construction was completed more than a month ahead of schedule and approximately $140m under budget, the utility said.

The new Cape Canaveral plant produces enough power to serve roughly 250,000 homes and businesses – roughly double the amount generated by the previous plant – without using any additional water or land.

The modern plant emits less than half the rate of carbon dioxide and 90% fewer air emissions, FPL said in a statement.

“It’s fitting that this historic Cape Canaveral site, which emerged to power American innovation and leadership in the space race more than half a century ago, will now be using some of the most advanced generation technology available and U.S.-produced natural gas to help power the Space Coast’s bright future,” said FPL President Eric Silagy.

The plant uses 33% less fuel to generate electricity, which should help FPL keep its typical residential customer bills the lowest in Florida and significantly lower than the national average, Silagy added.

Construction of the plant employed more than 650 people at its peak, approximately three-quarters of which were filled by Floridians.

As part of the company’s four-year rate agreement approved by the Florida Public Service Commission last year, the net increase on a typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill will be 16 cents a month, or about half a penny per day, as the cost of building the plant is offset in large part by the fuel savings from the plant’s efficiency, FPL said.

The Cape Canaveral modernization is part of FPL’s ongoing effort to modernize its power plant fleet. Other projects include:

Riviera Beach Next Generation: In 2011, FPL demolished a 1960s-era plant in Palm Beach County, Fla., and began construction of the new Riviera Beach center. The new plant is on track to enter service in June 2014.

Port Everglades Next Generation: The existing Port Everglades plant in Broward County, Fla., is slated to be taken down this summer. The new power plant is expected to enter service in June 2016.

St. Lucie and Turkey Point Nuclear Plant Uprate: FPL recently completed the largest extended power uprate project in the country, adding more than 500 MW without air emissions at its two nuclear power plants.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.