Florida Power & Light Co. announced plans to formally retire the Cedar Bay Generating Plant, a 250 MW coal-fired facility located in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 31, 2016. FPL purchased the plant in 2015 with the intention of phasing it out of service in this time frame.
That agreement had become uneconomic because FPL generates far cleaner energy at a much lower cost by investing heavily in modernizing its system.
"Buying and shutting down old, inefficient coal plants is unprecedented in America," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "I'm very proud of our employees for proposing this innovative approach that's environmentally beneficial and saves customers millions of dollars."
In fact, FPL is cleaner than the 2030 carbon emissions rate goal for Florida outlined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. At the same time, FPL's typical residential customer bills are about 30 percent lower than the national average.
The buyout and closure of the Cedar Bay plant is estimated to save FPL customers more than $70 million. In addition, it will prevent nearly 1 million tons of carbon emissions annually. This amount of carbon reduction is the EPA equivalent of saving more than 100 million gallons of gasoline or switching more than 23 million incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient compact-fluorescent lights every year.
"Cedar Bay is an example of FPL being one of the cleanest and most reliable electric utilities in the nation," said Eric Draper, Executive Director of Audubon Florida. "FPL has a forward-looking strategy of making smart, innovative, long-term investments including solar to reduce emissions while providing affordable clean energy for its customers."
The buyout was approved by the Florida Public Service Commission in 2015. More information about the plan can be found in FPL's Aug. 27, 2015 news release. After the plant has been closed down, FPL will dismantle the facility, a process that is expected to take about two years.
FPL is also in the process of purchasing and phasing out another coal-fired power plant, located in Indiantown, Fla. Similar to the Cedar Bay plan, this purchase is projected to save FPL customers an estimated $129 million and prevent more than 657,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually - further expanding upon FPL's position as the clean energy leader in Florida, and among the leading clean energy companies nationwide. The Indiantown facility is expected to be shut down by the end of 2018.
FPL has been strategically phasing out older, less efficient oil and coal-fired plants and replacing them with advanced, fuel-efficient energy centers.
Since 2001, FPL's investments in high-efficiency natural gas generation alone have enabled the company to cut its use of foreign oil by more than 98 percent – from more than 40 million barrels of oil in 2001 to less than 1 million barrels annually today. This has saved FPL customers more than $8 billion on fuel costs and prevented more than 95 million tons of carbon emissions.