Florida Power and Light adds near-term solar and gas capacity

Florida Power & Light’s 2016 Ten Year Site Plan, filed April 1 at the Florida Public Service Commission, presents FPL’s current plans to augment and enhance its electric generation capability (owned or purchased) as part of its efforts to meet FPL’s projected incremental resource needs for the 2016-2025 period.

There are four important resource planning-related similarities between the 2016 and 2015 versions of the plan. These similarities reflect FPL’s continuing effort to modernize its fleet of generating units both by adding new, highly-efficient, low-or-no emission generating units and retiring older, less efficient generating units.

  • Similarity #1: As announced in FPL’s 2015 Site Plan, FPL is adding three new photovoltaic (PV) facilities that will be in service by the end of 2016. Each of the PV facilities will be approximately 74.5 MW (nameplate rating, AC). As a result, FPL’s solar generation capacity will triple by the end of 2016 from its current 110 MW to approximately 333 MW. The new 2016 PV installations are sited in Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties. The economics of these specific PV projects are aided by the fact that the sites are located close to existing electric infrastructure, including transmission lines and electric substations. In this 2016 Site Plan, FPL is also projecting the addition of another approximately 300 MW of PV that will be added by the year 2021. (For planning purposes, FPL is currently showing this addition in the Summer of 2020.) This will result in an approximate doubling of PV generation from the 333 MW level by the end of 2016 to about 633 MW. Siting decisions on this 300 MW of additional PV has not yet been made. In addition, FPL will continue to analyze other opportunities for utilizing cost-effective solar energy.
  • Similarity #2: FPL continues to pursue cost-effective new nuclear capacity. Since June 2009, FPL has been attempting to secure federal Combined Operating Licenses for two new nuclear units, Turkey Point Units 6 & 7, that would be sited at FPL’s Turkey Point site (where two other nuclear units exist). In 2014 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission significantly revised the Turkey Point Units 6 & 7 Combined Operating License Application (COLA) Review Schedule. A subsequent project schedule review based on the COLA schedule revision, and changes in Florida’s nuclear cost recovery rule, indicated that the earliest practical dates for bringing the Turkey Point 6 & 7 units in-service are mid-2027 (Unit 6) and mid-2028 (Unit 7) which is beyond the 2016 through 2025 time period addressed in this Site Plan. Despite the projected timing of the two new nuclear units, the nuclear units remain as an important factor in FPL’s resource planning and this Site Plan continues to present the Turkey Point site as a Preferred Site for the new units.
  • Similarity #3: In recent years, FPL has retired a number of older, less efficient units including: Sanford Unit 3, Cutler Units 5 & 6, Cape Canaveral Units 1 & 2, Riviera Beach Units 3 & 4, Port Everglades Units 1–4, and Putnam Units 1 & 2. In their place, FPL has already added new combined cycle (CC) natural gas-fired generation at the Cape Canaveral, Riviera Beach, and Port Everglades sites and will add another highly fuel-efficient CC unit in Okeechobee County in 2019. In addition, Turkey Point Unit 2, has been converted from generation mode to operate in synchronous condenser mode to provide voltage support for the grid in Southeastern Florida. Turkey Point Unit 1 is also planned to begin running in synchronous condenser mode starting in 2016. FPL is also retiring a number of its existing older gas turbine (GTs) units, including: 22 of 24 GTs at the Lauderdale site; all 12 GTs at the Port Everglades site; and 10 of 12 GTs at the Fort Myers plant site. Two of the existing GTs at the Lauderdale site, and two of the existing GTs at the Ft. Myers site, will be retained for black start capability. In conjunction with the retirement of these peaking units, FPL is adding new, larger, and more fuel-efficient combustion turbines (CTs): five at the Lauderdale site and two at the Fort Myers site. Also, the two existing CTs at the Fort Myers site are undergoing capacity upgrades. At this point one GT, GT Unit 8 at Fort Myers, has been retired. All of the remaining GT- and CT-related changes described above are projected to be completed by the end of 2016.
  • Similarity #4: CO2 emission reduction remains an important issue that is considered in FPL’s on-going resource planning work even though uncertainty regarding CO2 regulation still exists. FPL’s resource planning work has evaluated potential CO2 regulation and/or legislation for a number of years. However, there has always been considerable uncertainty regarding the extent and the cost impacts of the potential regulation/legislation.

This year there is only one important resource planning-related difference between the 2016 and 2015 Site Plans. FPL does not project a significant long-term additional resource need until the years 2024 and 2025. Forecasted lower peak load growth, plus the recently approved Okeechobee CC unit that will enter service in mid-2019, results in FPL projecting that its next significant long-term resource needs will not occur until the years 2024 and 2025. Because these resource needs are eight and nine years in the future, no decision regarding how to best meet those resource needs will be required for several years.

Recognizing this fact, this Site Plan shows a large CC natural gas-fired unit at a greenfield site being added in 2024. The CC unit is a reasonable resource option which could address FPL’s resource needs for both of these years. However, on-going resource planning analyses in subsequent years will ultimately determine what the best resource option(s) for 2024 and 2025 will be. This decision will be addressed in future Site Plans.

The existing FPL generating resources are located at 14 generating sites distributed geographically around its service territory, plus one site in Georgia (partial FPL ownership of one unit) and two sites in Jacksonville, Florida (partial FPL ownership of two units and ownership of another unit). As of Dec. 31, 2015, FPL’s electrical generating facilities consisted of: four nuclear units, four coal units, 15 combined cycle (CC) units, five fossil steam units, 47 combustion gas turbines, two simple cycle combustion turbines, and two photovoltaic facilities.

In FPL’s 2016 Site Plan, there are four projected capacity changes through the 10-year reporting time frame of this document.

  • CT upgrades at existing CC plant sites: In the fourth quarter of 2011, FPL started upgrading the 7FA combustion turbines (CT) that are components at a number of its existing CC units. These upgrades will economically benefit FPL’s customers by increasing the MW output of these CC units. 260 MW of the increased capacity from these CT upgrades are projected to be in service by the April 1, 2016, filing date of this Site Plan.
  • New Solar Facilities: By the end of 2016, FPL will have completed the process of adding new photovoltaic (PV) facilities at three sites. These sites are FPL’s existing Manatee plant site in Manatee County, the Citrus site in DeSoto County, and the Babcock Ranch site in Charlotte County. Each of the PV facilities is projected to have a rating of approximately 74.5 MW (nameplate, AC). FPL’s analyses of these three specific projects have led to a conclusion that approximately 52% of their nameplate (AC) rating can be accounted for as firm Summer capacity, and 0% for firm Winter capacity.
  • GT Replacement: For economic reasons, FPL is in the process of retiring a number of its older gas turbine (GT) peaking units at its three GT sites (Lauderdale, Port Everglades, and Fort Myers) and partially replace this peaking capacity with new combustion turbine (CT) capacity at the Lauderdale and Fort Myers sites. In addition, the two existing CTs at the Fort Myers site will be upgraded which will increase their capacity. These GT- and CT-related changes are projected to be completed by the end of 2016.
  • New Combined Cycle Capacity: FPL will be adding a new combined cycle (CC) generating unit at its Okeechobee site in mid-2019. This new generating unit was first selected as FPL’s best self-build generating option. A request for proposals (RFP) was then issued to solicit capacity proposals from outside parties. However, no proposals were submitted which met the requirements of the RFP. FPL sought a determination of need from the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) fto build the Okeechobee CC unit. The FPSC issued its approval for the new unit in a final order issued on Jan. 19, 2016.

Cedar Bay coal plant to be retired in 2016

As discussed in last year’s Site Plan, FPL terminated its then existing power purchase agreement for 250 MW of coal-fired capacity from the Cedar Bay generating facility in mid-2015 as a result of a Purchase and Sale Agreement between FPL and Cedar Bay Generating Co. LP that was approved by the FPSC. FPL currently owns the unit and anticipates that it will not need the unit for economic purposes after 2016 and plans to retire the unit at that time.

FPL’s current projections include an additional 70 MW of waste-to-energy capacity from the Palm Beach Solid Waste Authority (SWA) that started in 2015. In addition, FPL projects that it will begin receiving a total of 180 MW of firm capacity in 2021 from biomass-based power purchase agreements with affiliates of U.S. EcoGen. Non-firm energy will be supplied by EcoGen beginning in 2019.

There are only two notable changes to FPL’s projections regarding firm capacity purchases.

  • The first is that 11 MW of firm capacity from Broward North is no longer available to FPL at the request of Broward North.
  • The second change is in regard to the purchase agreement with the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) involving the coal-fired St. Johns Regional Power Park (SJRPP). FPL currently projects that Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations regarding the amount of energy that FPL can receive under the SJRPP purchase agreement will result in the suspension of the delivery of capacity and energy to FPL in the fourth quarter of 2019, instead of the second quarter of 2019 which was the projection last year.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.