INDIANTOWN -- While dismantling the last coal-fired power plant in its fleet, Florida Power & Light Company officials Wednesday (June 16) announced more solar and clean energy power facilities will be developed at and around the plant site, continuing the company’s expansion of long-term investments into clean, zero-emissions energy.
“While the sun is setting on coal use in Florida, cleaner energy is rising like never before,” said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. “We have built more than 40 solar energy centers throughout the state and we are well on our way to installing more than 30 million solar panels by 2030. And, we are not stopping there. With the construction of the world’s largest solar-powered battery facility and an innovative green hydrogen pilot project, we are leading the state and nation in producing energy that is reliable, affordable and better for our environment.”
The company will begin development of the future solar energy center on land to the southwest of the Indiantown Cogeneration plant, whose 495-foot stack and coal chute were imploded with the controlled use of explosives. FPL plans to use portions of the plant’s existing infrastructure to connect the new solar project to the energy grid and will explore opportunities to use parts of the plant site for future clean energy solutions.
New Year began with the end of company’s coal use in the state
After the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31, 2020, FPL formally closed its last coal-fired plant in Florida. 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 marked the end of coal in FPL’s power plant operations.
In addition, Gulf Power, a part of FPL that serves customers in Northwest Florida, ceased coal-fired power generation at its Plant Crist in Escambia County earlier this year. The plant modernization included converting it 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.
For more than 20 years, FPL has been modernizing its power generation fleet through smart, consistent, long-term investments in cleaner, state-of-the-art energy centers operating on natural gas. Once the country’s largest user of oil to generate electricity, FPL has eliminated oil as a primary fuel source and the company is now recognized as one of the nation’s cleanest electric utilities. As the company transitioned to cleaner fuel sources, it saved its customers more than $11 billion and avoided more than 165 million tons in carbon dioxide emissions since 2001. The company’s carbon dioxide emissions profile is nearly 30% cleaner than the national average.
Continued expansion of zero-emissions fuel sources
The announcement of a new solar energy center in Martin County is another example of the company’s long-standing commitment to developing more zero-emissions power generation now and into the future. By the end of the decade, FPL forecasts that nearly 40% of the company’s power will be generated by zero-emissions energy sources – a more than 65% increase from 2020.
The company now has 41 large-scale solar energy centers installed throughout Florida, with nearly 3,000 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity – more than any other utility in the U.S. All of the solar energy centers that became operational in 2021 so far will also support FPL SolarTogetherTM – the company’s popular community solar program, which is the nation’s largest.
The company’s “30-by-30” plan – installing 30 million solar panels by 2030 – is more than 40% complete. This initiative will bring 11,700 MW of cost-effective solar capacity to the company by 2030, enough energy to power more than 2 million homes and making Florida one of the largest and the most affordable solar states in America.
The company’s rapid integration of innovative battery storage technology allows FPL to extend the hours in which solar energy can be used – even when the sun isn’t shining – and provide clean energy to customers when demand is highest. Later this year, the company plans to bring online the world’s largest solar-powered battery storage facility, which is currently under construction in Manatee County.
By the end of the decade, an additional 700 MW of battery storage – the equivalent of powering 140,000 homes or charging more than 400,000 electric vehicles – will be added to FPL’s service area. This is a nearly 186% increase from 2021.