Florida Power & Light Co. filed a petition with the Florida Public Service Commission for approval to shut down the St. Johns River Power Park at the end of this year.
The nearly 1,300 MW plant has served customers of the two utilities well for many years, but the company says it is no longer economical to operate. The power plant‘s retirement is expected to save FPL customers $183 million as well as prevent more than 5.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
In 1981, the PSC approved a request by FPL and JEA to build SJRPP to provide affordable power generated by a source other than oil — the fuel for the majority of FPL’s plants at that time.
FPL owns 20 percent of the facility, with an additional long-term agreement between the two utilities that has resulted in the partners sharing the power output and operating expenses equally.
Located in Jacksonville, SJRPP is currently one of the highest-cost generating facilities to operate and maintain for both FPL’s and JEA’s systems. Advances in technology have made cleaner, more fuel-efficient power generation from natural gas and solar more cost-effective, and the addition of a third major natural gas pipeline into Florida will soon make it possible for the generation of clean, affordable power to serve Floridians’ needs without SJRPP and two other coal plants that FPL is shutting down.
FPL has asked the PSC to review this request and make its decision by December 2017, so that SJRPP can be closed down at the end of the year and the projected customer benefits can be realized sooner.
Over the last two years, FPL bought out existing contracts with two independently owned coal-fired power plants with the goal of shutting down both plants, saving hundreds of millions of dollars for customers as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The first of these, the Cedar Bay plant in Jacksonville, ceased operations at the end of 2016. The second, the Indiantown Co-generation plant in Martin County, is on track to close by the end of 2019. FPL continues to look for additional opportunities to save customers money and generate cleaner energy.
As the company continues to invest in cleaner, more fuel-efficient natural gas technology, FPL plans to retire its Lauderdale Plant in Dania Beach, Fla., the site of FPL’s first power plant in 1927. The current plant was last updated nearly a quarter-century ago and continues to operate some components that date back to the 1950s.