Florida Power & Light (FPL) sheds extra light onto the Sunshine State. The company, a subsidiary of utility holding company NextEra Energy, serves some 4.6 million electricity customers in eastern and southern Florida. FPL has more than 74,160 miles of transmission and distribution lines, as well as interests in fossil-fueled and nuclear power plants that give it a generating capacity of about 24,500 MW. Natural gas accounts for 65% of the power it generates; nuclear, 20%; and coal, only 5%. FPL has 110 MW of solar generated capacity, more than any other utility outside of California. FPL's Energy Marketing and Trading unit purchases and sells energy commodities to wholesale customers.
The company's 10-year strategic plan (initiated in 2012) for meeting Florida's energy needs relies on building additions to its existing generating plants while ramping up renewable energy sources in order to avoid building four medium-sized fossil-fueled power plants (called for by an earlier plan).
In 2010 the Florida Public Service Commission turned down the company's proposed 30% retail rate hike, or $1.3 billion. FPL adjusted its expansion programs accordingly.
The company revived a $2 billion also revived a $2 billion plan to convert a plant in Port St. John and a plant in Riviera Beach from heavy fuel to natural gas. It also plans to get a further 490 MW of capacity from its Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear power plants by 2013.
Moving further to meet federal requirements for green energy production, in 2010 the company commissioned the Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center at the Kennedy Space Center, three solar farms, built in tandem with NASA to produce 10 MW of clean energy, enough to serve 1,100 homes. It also brought into service the 75-MW Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, designed to power about 11,000 homes. The hybrid facility connects more than 190,000 solar thermal mirrors to an existing combined-cycle natural gas power plant.
FPL reported a 1% increase in overall revenues in 2011, largely due to higher revenues from its fuel cost recovery program (a fixed, year long fuel charge for customers, aimed at combating price volatility). Despite a 2% drop in power use by the average retail customer, a rate increase, higher demand during peak periods, and a growth in customers helped to lift FPL's retail revenues. Net income grew by 13% in 2011, thanks to higher revenues and lower operating expenses.
Between 2011 to 2013, FPL plans to invest $9 billion to strengthen and improve its electric generation and delivery system. To help pay for these improvements, in 2012 it submitted a 2.6% rate increase request with state authorities. – less