Florida Power & Light’s last coal-fired plant in that state has officially closed. The formal retirement of Indiantown Cogeneration Plant came as the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31. FPL acquired the plant three years earlier for the sole purpose of shutting it down. FPL is owned by NextEra Energy Inc. Another NextEra utility, Gulf Power, also ceased coal-fired generation at its Plant Crist in Escambia County. NextEra acquired Gulf Power from Southern Co. for about $5.7 billion. Plant Crist is going to be converted from coal-fired to natural gas-fired generation, cutting carbon emissions by about 40 percent.
“This year marks a major milestone for our company and our customers as we generate electricity that is reliable, affordable and cleaner than ever,” said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. “On Jan. 1, we closed the chapter on our use of coal as an energy source in Florida. It’s also important to note that 20 years ago we were the country’s largest user of oil to generate electricity; however, by making smart, consistent, long-term investments in cleaner, state-of-the art energy centers, we have lowered our oil use by 99 percent and use it only as a secondary fuel source. By eliminating our use of coal and effectively eliminating our use of oil, our customers now receive energy that is better for our environment, and is reliable and much more affordable.”
In recent years, FPL has bought out old contracts and purchased existing coal-fired power plants for the sole purpose of shutting them down – saving customers money and eliminating carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, the company has constructed universal solar energy centers, leading one of the largest solar expansions in the country as part of its bold plan to install 30 million solar panels by 2030. Last month, five new solar energy centers, consisting of 1.4 million solar panels, began providing customers with zero-emissions energy.