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FPL completes massive, multi-year upgrade of nuclear power plants
- Massive upgrade of FPL's St. Lucie and Turkey Point nuclear plants has added the equivalent of a new, medium-sized plant capable of powering more than 300,000 customers
- The added capacity is expected to save FPL customers billions of dollars over time by reducing the use of fossil fuels
- Clean energy investment was made possible by Florida's nuclear cost recovery framework
Apr 18, 2013
JUNO BEACH, Fla., April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company today announced the successful completion of a five-year, multibillion-dollar investment to upgrade its Turkey Point and St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plants, adding more than 500 new megawatts of clean energy capacity.
At approximately 1:30 yesterday afternoon, Turkey Point Unit 4, the final unit to undergo an upgrade as part of the project, was connected to Florida's electrical grid. The upgrades of Turkey Point Unit 3, located in Miami-Dade County, and St. Lucie Units 1 and 2, located in St. Lucie County, were completed in 2012.
"With consistently low fuel costs, zero emissions and the ability to operate around the clock, nuclear power is a critical component of our state's energy mix today and tomorrow," said FPL President Eric Silagy. "By increasing the amount of power that our nuclear plants can generate, this investment added the equivalent of a new, medium-sized power plant to Florida's generation fleet, without having to build one."
The upgrades, known as "extended power uprates" are massive, highly-complex engineering projects. FPL surpassed the initial projection of 399 megawatts for the entire investment at the end of 2012, and the project is estimated to deliver nearly 30 percent more capacity than originally projected. The project – the largest U.S. nuclear project in recent history – involved an enormous construction effort at both plants, including:
- Thousands of Jobs: An average of about 3,500 people worked on the project every day during 2012 alone;
- Millions of Work Hours: More than 22 million man hours of work – more than three times the number of hours it took to build the Empire State Building – with approximately 4 million hours alone dedicated to engineering;
- Miles of Materials: The work involved the installation of 38,000 feet (more than seven miles) of electric wiring conduit; 288,500 feet (more than 50 miles) of electrical cable and approximately 16,000 linear feet of pipe (approximately three miles).
In addition, this work contributed to the state's economy, particularly in the communities surrounding the plants. Roughly half of the personnel employed for construction were Florida residents. Also, local hotels, restaurants and other services benefitted from an influx of specialized workers that had to be brought in from outside the state for components of the project.
For FPL's customers, the uprate investment is expected to deliver a variety of benefits over the course of its operating lifetime, including:
- Fuel Savings: The added capacity is expected to save customers billions of dollars on fossil fuel costs, with more than $100 million in savings in the first year of operation alone;
- Fewer Emissions: By reducing fossil fuel usage, the project avoids 33 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of removing 5 million cars from the road.
"For decades, nuclear energy has helped power Florida's economy, keeping our air cleaner and saving residents and businesses billions of dollars in energy costs," Silagy said.
Investments in efficient power generation such as nuclear are one of the reasons why FPL's typical residential customer bills are the lowest of the state's 55 electric utilities and 26 percent below the national average. In addition, because the vast majority of the electricity that Floridians use comes from power plants that burn fossil fuels, nuclear power provides valuable energy diversity.
Since the early 1970s, two nuclear-generating units at FPL's Turkey Point plant in Miami-Dade County have been providing safe, reliable power for FPL customers. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, FPL added two more nuclear units in St. Lucie County on Florida's Treasure Coast.
In 2007, FPL received a need determination from the Florida Public Service Commission to implement extended power uprates at all four nuclear units. An extended power uprate is a proven, safe method of increasing the output of a nuclear power plant by replacing many components with equipment that enables greater production.
FPL's uprate investment was made possible by Florida's nuclear cost recovery framework, which enables electric utilities to diversify the state's energy sources by making investments in nuclear power. The framework keeps long-term costs down for customers through a pay-as-you-go process that pays off certain development and interest costs before the plant is complete, preventing these costs from compounding additional interest. Although the so-called "advanced" cost recovery system only accounts for a small portion of a utility's investment, it produces hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for customers over time.
In 2013, FPL's total typical 1,000-kWh residential customer monthly bill is approximately $95, of which the nuclear cost recovery clause represents $1.65 – about 5 cents a day. Nearly 90 percent of 2013 funding is related to the completion of the uprate investment, with the remainder paying for continued development and licensing work to create the opportunity to build two new nuclear units to meet customer needs in the future. In 2014, FPL plans to reduce its nuclear cost recovery clause amount to less than 50 cents on a typical customer's monthly bill, or less than 2 cents a day. The company will file its official 2014 projections in May of this year with the Florida Public Service Commission.
For more information, please visit www.FPL.com/nuclearinvestments.
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest rate-regulated electric utility in Florida and serves the third-largest number of customers of any electric utility in the United States. FPL serves more than 4.6 million customer accounts and is a leading Florida employer with approximately 10,000 employees as of year-end 2012. During the five-year period ended December 31, 2012, the company delivered the best service reliability among Florida investor-owned utilities. As of year-end 2012, its typical residential customer bills are the lowest in Florida, and based on data available in July 2012, are about 26 percent below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.FPL.com.
Cautionary Statements and Risk Factors That May Affect Future Results
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These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following: effects of extensive regulation of NextEra Energy's and FPL's business operations; inability of NextEra Energy and FPL to recover in a timely manner any significant amount of costs, a return on certain assets or an appropriate return on capital through base rates, cost recovery clauses, other regulatory mechanisms or otherwise; impact of political, regulatory and economic factors on regulatory decisions important to NextEra Energy and FPL; risks of disallowance of cost recovery by FPL based on a finding of imprudent use of derivative instruments; effect of any reductions to or elimination of governmental incentives that support renewable energy projects of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and its affiliated entities (NextEra Energy Resources); impact of new or revised laws, regulations or interpretations or other regulatory initiatives on NextEra Energy and FPL; effect on NextEra Energy and FPL of potential regulatory action to broaden the scope of regulation of over-the-counter (OTC) financial derivatives and to apply such regulation to NextEra Energy and FPL; 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failure or breach of NextEra Energy's and FPL's information technology systems; risks to NextEra Energy and FPL's retail businesses of compromise of sensitive customer data; risks to NextEra Energy and FPL of volatility in the market values of derivative instruments and limited liquidity in OTC markets; impact of negative publicity; inability of NextEra Energy and FPL to maintain, negotiate or renegotiate acceptable franchise agreements with municipalities and counties in Florida; increasing costs of health care plans; lack of a qualified workforce or the loss or retirement of key employees; occurrence of work strikes or stoppages and increasing personnel costs; NextEra Energy's ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate acquisitions; environmental, health and financial risks associated with NextEra Energy's and FPL's ownership of nuclear generation facilities; liability of NextEra Energy and FPL for significant retrospective assessments and/or retrospective insurance premiums in the event of an incident at certain nuclear generation facilities; increased operating and capital expenditures at nuclear generation facilities of NextEra Energy or FPL resulting from orders or new regulations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; inability to operate any of NextEra Energy Resources' or FPL's owned nuclear generation units through the end of their respective operating licenses; liability of NextEra Energy and FPL for increased nuclear licensing or compliance costs resulting from hazards posed to their owned nuclear generation facilities; risks associated with outages of NextEra Energy's and FPL's owned nuclear units; effect of disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the credit and capital markets on NextEra Energy's and FPL's ability to fund their liquidity and capital needs and meet their growth objectives; inability of NextEra Energy, FPL and NextEra Energy Capital Holdings, Inc. to maintain their current credit ratings; risk of impairment of NextEra Energy's and FPL's liquidity from inability of creditors to fund their credit commitments or to maintain their current credit ratings; poor market performance and other economic factors that could affect NextEra Energy's defined benefit pension plan's funded status; poor market performance and other risks to the asset values of NextEra Energy's and FPL's nuclear decommissioning funds; changes in market value and other risks to certain of NextEra Energy's investments; effect of inability of NextEra Energy subsidiaries to upstream dividends or repay funds to NextEra Energy or of NextEra Energy's performance under guarantees of subsidiary obligations on NextEra Energy's ability to meet its financial obligations and to pay dividends on its common stock; and effect of disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the credit and capital markets of the market price of NextEra Energy's common stock. NextEra Energy and FPL discuss these and other risks and uncertainties in their annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012 and other SEC filings, and this press release should be read in conjunction with such SEC filings made through the date of this press release. The forward-looking statements made in this press release are made only as of the date of this press release and NextEra Energy and FPL undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company
For further information: Florida Power & Light Co., Media Line: +1-305-552-3888