MIAMI – 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.
Cautionary Statements and Risk Factors That May Affect Future Results
This news release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical facts, but instead represent the current expectations of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NextEra Energy) and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) regarding future operating results and other future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s control. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, among others, statements concerning future operating performance. In some cases, you can identify the forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “will,” “may result,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “plan,” “seek,” “potential,” “projection,” “forecast,” “predict,” “goals,” “target,” “outlook,” “should,” “would” or similar words or expressions. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future performance. The future results of NextEra Energy and FPL and their business and financial condition are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause their actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, or may require them to limit or eliminate certain operations. 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 a reasonable return on invested 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; disallowance of cost recovery by FPL based on a finding of imprudent use of derivative instruments; effect of any reductions or modifications to, or elimination of, governmental incentives or policies that support utility scale renewable energy projects of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and its affiliated entities (NextEra Energy Resources) or the imposition of additional tax laws, policies or assessments on renewable energy; impact of new or revised laws, regulations, interpretations or other regulatory initiatives on NextEra Energy and FPL;; capital expenditures, increased operating costs and various liabilities attributable to environmental laws, regulations and other standards applicable to NextEra Energy and FPL; effects on NextEra Energy and FPL of federal or state laws or regulations mandating new or additional limits on the production of greenhouse gas emissions; exposure of NextEra Energy and FPL to significant and increasing compliance costs and substantial monetary penalties and other sanctions as a result of extensive federal regulation of their operations and businesses; effect on NextEra Energy and FPL of changes in tax laws, guidance or policies as well as in judgments and estimates used to determine tax-related asset and liability amounts; impact on NextEra Energy and FPL of adverse results of litigation; effect on NextEra Energy and FPL of failure to proceed with projects under development or inability to complete the construction of (or capital improvements to) electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, gas infrastructure facilities or other facilities on schedule or within budget; impact on development and operating activities of NextEra Energy and FPL resulting from risks related to project siting, financing, construction, permitting, governmental approvals and the negotiation of project development agreements; risks involved in the operation and maintenance of electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, gas infrastructure facilities and other facilities; effect on NextEra Energy and FPL of a lack of growth or slower growth in the number of customers or in customer usage; impact on NextEra Energy and FPL of severe weather and other weather conditions; threats of terrorism and catastrophic events that could result from terrorism, cyber attacks or other attempts to disrupt NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s business or the businesses of third parties; inability to obtain adequate insurance coverage for protection of NextEra Energy and FPL against significant losses and risk that insurance coverage does not provide protection against all significant losses; a prolonged period of low gas and oil prices could impact NextEra Energy Resources’ gas infrastructure business and cause NextEra Energy Resources to delay or cancel certain gas infrastructure projects and for certain existing projects to be impaired; risk to NextEra Energy Resources of increased operating costs resulting from unfavorable supply costs necessary to provide NextEra Energy Resources’ full energy and capacity requirement services; inability or failure by NextEra Energy Resources to manage properly or hedge effectively the commodity risk within its portfolio; effect of reductions in the liquidity of energy markets on NextEra Energy’s ability to manage operational risks; effectiveness of NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s risk management tools associated with their hedging and trading procedures to protect against significant losses, including the effect of unforeseen price variances from historical behavior; impact of unavailability or disruption of power transmission or commodity transportation facilities on sale and delivery of power or natural gas by FPL and NextEra Energy Resources; exposure of NextEra Energy and FPL to credit and performance risk from customers, hedging counterparties and vendors; failure of NextEra Energy or FPL counterparties to perform under derivative contracts or of requirement for NextEra Energy or FPL to post margin cash collateral under derivative contracts; failure or breach of NextEra Energy’s or FPL’s information technology systems; risks to NextEra Energy and FPL’s retail businesses from compromise of sensitive customer data; losses from 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; occurrence of work strikes or stoppages and increasing personnel costs; NextEra Energy’s ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate acquisitions, including the effect of increased competition for acquisitions; NextEra Energy Partners, LP’s (NEP’s) acquisitions may not be completed and, even if completed, NextEra Energy may not realize the anticipated benefits of any acquisitions; environmental, health and financial risks associated with NextEra Energy Resources’ and FPL’s ownership and operation 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 and/or result in reduced revenues 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; 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; impairment of NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s liquidity from inability of credit providers 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 pay 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; the fact that the amount and timing of dividends payable on NextEra Energy’s common stock, as well as the dividend policy approved by NextEra Energy’s board of directors from time to time, and changes to that policy, are within the sole discretion of NextEra Energy’s board of directors and, if declared and paid, dividends may be in amounts that are less than might be expected by shareholders; NEP’s inability to access sources of capital on commercially reasonable terms could have an effect on its ability to consummate future acquisitions and on the value of NextEra Energy’s limited partner interest in NextEra Energy Operating Partners, LP; and effects of disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the credit and capital markets on 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, 2016 and other SEC filings, and this news release should be read in conjunction with such SEC filings made through the date of this news release. The forward-looking statements made in this news release are made only as of the date of this news release and NextEra Energy and FPL undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.