JUNO BEACH — After the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31, Florida Power & Light Company formally closed its last coal-fired plant in Florida, ending its use of coal in the state while accelerating its long-term investments in other fuel sources to generate and deliver clean and affordable power to its customers.
FPL purchased the Indiantown Cogeneration plant, located in Martin County, in 2017 for the sole purpose of shutting it down and saving customers money. The formal retirement marks the end of coal in FPL’s power plant operations.
In addition, Gulf Power, a division of FPL that provides service to customers in Northwest Florida, ceased coal-fired power generation at its Plant Crist in Escambia County. The plant modernization, which FPL initiated immediately after purchasing Gulf Power from the Southern Company, includes a conversion to run entirely on American-produced, cleaner natural gas – cutting the plant’s carbon emissions rate by 40% and marking the end of Gulf Power’s use of coal to generate energy in Florida.
“This year marks a major milestone for our company and our customers as we generate electricity that is reliable, affordable and cleaner than ever,” said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. “On Jan. 1, we closed the chapter on our use of coal as an energy source in Florida. It’s also important to note that 20 years ago we were the country’s largest user of oil to generate electricity; however, by making smart, consistent, long-term investments in cleaner, state-of-the art energy centers, we have lowered our oil use by 99% and use it only as a secondary fuel source. By eliminating our use of coal and effectively eliminating our use of oil, our customers now receive energy that is better for our environment, and is reliable and much more affordable.”
In recent years, FPL has bought out old contracts and purchased existing coal-fired power plants for the sole purpose of shutting them down – saving customers money and eliminating carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, the company has constructed universal solar energy centers, leading one of the largest solar expansions in the country as part of its bold plan to install 30 million solar panels by 2030. Last month, five new solar energy centers, consisting of 1.4 million solar panels, began providing customers with zero-emissions energy.
In addition, the company continues to look at other innovative sources of clean energy, including constructing the largest solar-integrated battery storage facility in the world and a green hydrogen pilot project announced last year. FPL continues to rank as one of the nation’s cleanest energy companies with its power generation coming from natural gas, nuclear, solar and batteries. FPL’s generation fleet is now one of the cleanest and most efficient in the country, saving customers nearly $11 billion in fuel costs and eliminating more than 145 million tons of CO2 emissions since 2001, which represents a 35% reduction.
In addition to shutting down the Indiantown Cogeneration plant, the company, along with JEA, announced its plan to retire a coal-fired unit that Southern Company operates in Georgia. The company plans to tear down the Indiantown plant later this year.