An indomitable one-for-all-and-all-for-one spirit, evidenced during the defining moments in FMPA’s history, best describes the organization that 31 community-owned electric utilities have created.
Joint action was born in the 1970s
In the face of mounting competitive pressure during the 1970s, municipal electric utilities around the United States began forming regional “joint action agencies” that allowed individual utilities to participate collectively in power pools, to buy wholesale power in a group and to jointly finance generating plants. In the summer of 1977, an organizational committee was formed to establish the structure of a joint action agency in Florida. Less than a year later, FMPA held its initial meeting on Feb. 24, 1978. Twenty-three cities attended.
Nuclear plant was FMPA’s first joint power project
Before FMPA was formed, a group of 20 Florida cities came together and asked for ownership interests in an investor-owned utility’s nuclear units. The ownership request was denied, so in 1974, the cities intervened in the plant’s license application. After eight years of legal action, the cities reached a comprehensive settlement to participate in the unit. During the time since the legal action began, FMPA had been formed, so the cities worked together through FMPA to coordinate the first joint action power supply project, which today is known as the St. Lucie Project.
Five utilities created All-Requirements power supplier
With little competition among wholesale power suppliers, municipal utilities began to look for wholesale power supply alternatives. They turned to FMPA to become an all-requirements power supplier for member cities that purchased all their wholesale power needs from private power companies. Bushnell, one of the smallest municipal electric utilities in Florida, was the first to sign with FMPA, followed by Green Cove Springs, Jacksonville Beach, Leesburg and Ocala. The project began serving all the power needs for those five members on May 1, 1986. All-Requirements has grown into FMPA’s largest power supply project serving 14 members today.
Gaining equal access to transmission helped expand All-Requirements
By 1989, members that operated generation also wanted to join the All-Requirements Project. To so do, they needed to purchase the same type of electric transmission service that investor-owned utilities used themselves. FMPA was able to contract for this service from one private power company, but another utility refused, even though they were required to do so by agreement with the Justice Department and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. FMPA negotiated with the company for two years but to no avail. In 1991, with no other satisfactory option available, FMPA filed a lawsuit for breach of contract and antitrust violations. As a result, FMPA obtained equal access to transmission service and significantly expanded All-Requirements to include other cities.
All-Requirements developed its own power projects
Within a few short years, FMPA’s All-Requirements Project grew into one of the largest municipal utilities in Florida and the United States. As a result of that growth, All-Requirements had capacity needs that were large enough to justify building its own units and urgent enough that FMPA could not wait to be invited to participate in another utility’s plant. FMPA’s long-term power supply plan recommended two new generation projects: a simple cycle combustion turbine to begin operating in 2006 and a combined cycle unit to begin operating in 2008. The simple cycle combustion turbine was successfully completed in June 2006 and the combined cycle unit in May 2008.
All-Requirements’ units are Highly Efficient with Low Emissions
Modernizing FMPA’s fleet of generators is part of the All-Requirements Project’s plan to minimize power costs. In recent years, FMPA has updated its power generating resources to improve the fleet’s overall efficiency, much like converting to a fleet of fuel-sipping hybrid cars. Since 2006, FMPA has added three new units: one in Key West, one in Fort Pierce and most recently Cane Island Unit 4. With these additions and improvements, FMPA is able to generate each megawatt of electricity with nearly 9% less fuel.
Cane Island Unit 4 is one of the most efficient, cleanest plants in Florida. Unit 4 is estimated to be 40% more efficient than older generation units it replaces. Unit 4 uses best available control technology and a clean-burning fuel to limit emissions. The unit’s projected air emissions are well below Ambient Air Quality Standards, established to protect human health and the environment.