Florida Power & Light Company and Miami-Dade County today announced plans to collaborate on innovative energy and environmental improvements over the next several years.
The plans include: adding more than 1 million solar panels across Miami-Dade; creating an advanced reclaimed water system that would enable the reuse of up to 60 million gallons a day of County wastewater; enhancing and extending the carbon-free energy capacity and environmental restoration work at FPL’s Turkey Point power generation complex; and developing high-tech transportation-related improvement projects.
“Miami-Dade is a vital economic hub and the most heavily populated county served by FPL. What we do here is important to our entire system, which makes long-term planning critically important. These plans are ambitious, but with support from the community, we believe they are achievable. As a company, we firmly believe in aiming high while remaining grounded in reality, trusting science and economics to help us make the right long-term decisions for our customers,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.
“I am proud to have Miami-Dade County partner with Florida Power and Light and bring our 2.7 million residents a viable, sustainable solution to our wastewater challenge,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “Our Water and Sewer Department is working directly with FPL to develop a plan that will put otherwise wasted water to good use, which will not only benefit the environment but also all Miamians. In fact, this plan has the potential to recycle more than 20 billion gallons of freshwater and prevent the removal of 10 billion gallons of Floridan aquifer water each year.”
“The use of treated wastewater to support South Florida’s energy needs is a win-win. It decreases water demand on the environment and uses water that is currently wasted today. We applaud Mayor Gimenez and FPL for this public-private partnership to enhance our water management strategies within the Everglades ecosystem. Achieving additional treatment levels for use at Turkey Point that are suitable for release into sensitive wetlands is an important step,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation.
“This project is an exciting opportunity to make real progress in conserving water resources in South Florida. The teaming of the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department with Florida Power & Light represents a paradigm shift in water management toward resilient systems that integrate wastewater and stormwater systems with regional energy infrastructure. We look forward to watching this industry-leading opportunity,” said Melissa Meeker, co-CEO of the Water Research Foundation, a not-for-profit research cooperative that advances the science of water to protect public health and the environment.
“Expanding solar is the right thing for Florida’s future,” said Julie Wraithmell, interim executive director of Audubon Florida. “We’re so glad to see Miami-Dade and FPL leading the way with these good projects.”
FPL currently operates 10 large solar power plants across Florida and has several solar installations and battery-storage research facilities in Miami-Dade today. FPL plans to expand on these efforts, beginning with the future FPL Miami-Dade Solar Energy Center, a 74.5-megawatt solar power plant that will be built off Krome Avenue in southwestern Miami-Dade. All necessary permits have been secured for the site, and FPL expects the plant to be in operation by mid-2020.
Miami-Dade County has long supported innovation, and FPL is part of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), which ranks among the top 20 companies globally in the categories of innovation and social responsibility on Fortune’s 2018 World’s Most Admired Companies list. FPL first began testing solar technology in the 1980s in Miami-Dade, and FPL’s smart grid, which is the most technologically advanced in the nation, emerged in part from a groundbreaking program the company launched in Miami in 2009. Over the past two years, FPL built a major solar research facility at Florida International University and installed approximately 3,500 kilowatts of battery-storage research projects throughout Miami-Dade.
FPL is currently exploring opportunities to expand its cutting-edge battery-storage research. In addition, FPL has selected Miami-Dade as the location of a new pilot study of floating-solar technology – solar panels installed on systems that are deployed in a body of water.
In the coming years, FPL plans to develop more solar and at least two more battery storage systems in Miami-Dade, including one that would directly support the County’s Metrorail public transit system. FPL also plans to add electric-vehicle charging stations at or near County facilities.
Furthermore, FPL continues to modernize its Turkey Point power generation complex in southern Miami-Dade. Turkey Point currently includes two zero-emissions nuclear generating units (known as Units 3 and 4) and one high-efficiency natural gas unit (Unit 5) that generate clean energy around the clock for millions of Floridians.
FPL has invested more than $1 billion to upgrade Turkey Point’s nuclear units in recent years, adding approximately 250 megawatts of new carbon-free capacity. In 2018, the company plans to conduct additional upgrades on the existing nuclear units that are expected to further boost their output by a combined 40 megawatts of capacity, and it will also file with the NRC to renew the units’ operating licenses. Renewing the licenses would allow the units to operate until 2052 and 2053 and save FPL customers billions of dollars by avoiding the need for other more expensive power generation.
Turkey Point is one of four U.S. nuclear power plants to initiate the subsequent license renewal process, joining Surry Power Station and North Anna Power Station in Virginia and Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania – each of which, like Turkey Point, has two generating units.
These vital, 24-7 zero-emissions energy sources are essential to broader efforts to preserve clean air and address climate change. The carbon-free energy generated by Turkey Point’s nuclear units prevents more than 10 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year – equivalent to the carbon emissions from the consumption of approximately 1 billion gallons of gasoline, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. FPL is working on supplementing nuclear and natural gas generation at Turkey Point with zero-emissions solar energy and advanced battery storage capabilities on site and/or nearby.
“By adding solar and battery storage near Turkey Point, combined with the high-efficiency natural gas and upgraded nuclear already in operation there, we would be creating the most diverse clean energy complex in the nation,” Silagy said.
Moreover, Turkey Point operations generate an estimated $1.7 billion of economic output annually, employing more than 800 full-time employees and hundreds of contract workers who live in nearby communities. Annual refueling outages require more than 2,500 additional personnel to visit the plant, supporting local lodging, restaurants and hundreds of other local businesses.
FPL’s multi-faceted, long-term solution to address salinity issues related to the Turkey Point cooling canals is seeing success, and the company has invested millions of dollars in numerous other environmental improvements to restore critical habitat and protect endangered species. Also, directly adjacent to Turkey Point, FPL manages the single-largest privately funded Everglades restoration project, permanently protecting approximately 13,000 acres of historical Eastern Everglades wetlands. Drainage and flood control projects undertaken in the early 1900s dramatically altered the wetlands’ physical and biological characteristics. FPL purchased the area in the 1970s and has been working for many years to restore them to their natural state.
Building on this environmental commitment, the modernization of the Turkey Point energy complex provides a unique opportunity to help Miami-Dade solve its biggest environmental infrastructure challenge – addressing ocean outfall and water reuse. Currently, the County disposes of more than 100 million gallons of wastewater a day in the ocean, and it faces a state mandate to find ways to reuse much of this wastewater.
FPL and the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department have been collaborating to develop a potential system that would enable the treatment and reuse of County wastewater at Turkey Point. The system would deliver up to 60 million gallons a day of the County’s treated wastewater to an advanced reclaimed water facility, where it would be cleaned further so it could be used at Turkey Point.
This system would serve as the source of water to cool Turkey Point’s natural gas-fueled Unit 5 and help restore water quality in the cooling canals that serve nuclear-fueled Units 3 and 4. By further cleaning the County’s treated wastewater, the system will produce high-quality reclaimed water that would be used to drought-proof the cooling canals and eliminate the plant’s need to draw millions of gallons of water from the Floridan aquifer. It would also enable the restoration of a balanced and healthy ecosystem in the cooling canals, featuring submerged aquatic vegetation – a necessary and important step toward an environmentally sustainable decommissioning of the canals in the future.
The proposed system would be the largest component of the County’s efforts to meet its reuse requirement. If the proposal is approved by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, FPL and the Water and Sewer Department would develop a detailed plan. The County Commission has expressed support previously for the development of a public-private partnership with Turkey Point to help meet the water-reuse mandate and, in 2010, approved a preliminary proposal to use reclaimed water for future nuclear units at Turkey Point; however, that proposal no longer meets the County’s mandated timeline.
Keeping bills low
FPL’s rates continue to be among the lowest in the nation. FPL’s typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is currently approximately 25 percent lower than the national average.
While the prices of many products and services have risen in recent years, FPL’s typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill has decreased – today, FPL rates are lower than they were a decade ago. And in March, they will decrease further.
Earlier this month, FPL announced that it would use federal tax savings to avoid a rate increase for the $1.3 billion cost of Hurricane Irma restoration. In March, FPL’s 1,000-kWh customer bill will decrease by $3.35 a month.
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving nearly 5 million customer accounts or approximately 10 million people across nearly half of the state of Florida. FPL’s typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 25 percent lower than the latest national average and among the lowest in the U.S. FPL’s service reliability is better than 99.98 percent, and its highly fuel-efficient power plant fleet is one of the cleanest among all utilities nationwide. The company was recognized in 2017 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities by Market Strategies International for the fourth consecutive year. A leading Florida employer with approximately 8,900 employees, FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, ethics and diversity, and has been ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune’s 2017 list of “World's Most Admired Companies.” NextEra Energy is also the parent company of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com, www.FPL.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.
- FPL to add more than 1 million solar panels across Miami-Dade in the coming years, including the future FPL Miami-Dade Solar Energy Center, a major solar power plant that will be built by mid-2020
- Advanced reclaimed water facility proposed to link the County with FPL’s Turkey Point power generation complex, enabling the sustainable reuse of up to 60 million gallons a day of County wastewater
- Continued modernization of Turkey Point, to include increasing zero-emissions nuclear capacity in 2018, will ensure long-term, reliable operations and integration with solar and battery storage in the future
- Two major transportation-related projects in development: battery storage to support the Metrorail system and electric-vehicle charging stations for County buildings
- FPL rates continue to remain among the lowest in the U.S.; another rate decrease takes effect in March, reducing the typical 1,000-kWh customer bill by $3.35