JUNO BEACH, Fla., Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light (FPL) Company today announced that it has successfully completed a series of operational tests on the first of three natural gas-powered combustion turbines at its new Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center. The high-efficiency power plant is on track to begin generating power for FPL customers during the first half of 2014.
FPL is investing more than $1 billion to build the state-of-the-art facility. It will generate power with 33 percent less fuel per megawatt-hour and far fewer emissions than the site's former plant, which the company demolished in 2011.
The new, state-of-the-art power plant will use high-efficiency, combined-cycle natural gas technology resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of net savings for FPL customers during the plant's anticipated 30-year operational life.
"FPL's Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center represents the cleanest, most advanced power plant technology in the world," said FPL Power Generation Vice President Roxane Kennedy. "When operational, this clean energy center will keep customer bills low through reduced fuel consumption and greater efficiency, as well as environmentally friendly operations."
Initial testing, which began in late September, included a variety of assessments and operating the combustion turbine at 25 megawatts of electricity. When completed in 2014, the plant will be capable of generating up to 1,250 megawatts - enough power to serve approximately 250,000 customers.
This first combustion turbine is now being utilized to conduct a series of steam pipe-cleaning activities to ensure that the facility's piping is ready for full operation. Testing is underway on the second combustion turbine, with testing on the third unit scheduled for November.
In June 2011, FPL demolished the 1960s-era Riviera Beach power plant and recycled nearly all of the debris. Construction on the new plant began in late 2011 and created an estimated 650 direct jobs at peak construction, providing significant financial benefit for local businesses.
During the plant's first full year of operation, it is expected to deliver more than $20 million in new tax revenues for local schools and governments.
"FPL's investment in modernizing our power generation facilities is directly linked to our ability to keep customer bills low while delivering extremely high service reliability of more than 99.98 percent," said Kennedy. "Equally important, this project represents yet another significant step in FPL's ongoing push toward greater energy independence."
FPL's typical residential customer bill is the lowest of the state's 55 electric utilities and approximately 25 percent lower than the national average. This is due in part to the company's investments in fuel-efficient power plants.
In April 2013, FPL's natural-gas-powered Cape Canaveral Next Generation Clean Energy Center began serving customers, and in July, FPL demolished its 1960s-era Port Everglades power plant to make way for a new energy center that will open in 2016. FPL's efforts already have helped cut fuel costs by more than $6 billion since 2001 – savings that have been passed on directly to its customers.
Investing in fuel-efficient power plants that use U.S.-produced-natural gas also is helping reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. Due to the company's investments, it has dramatically slashed its use of foreign oil from more than 40 million barrels a year in 2001 to less than 250,000 barrels this year.
To learn more, visit www.FPL.com/rbec.
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 approximately 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.
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company