FMPA Natural Gas Power Plant Proposal Wins First Approval in Multi-Step Process
ORLANDO, Fla., July 11, 2005 – The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) voted unanimously to approve Florida Municipal Power Agency’s (FMPA) proposal to construct a natural gas-fired power plant in St. Lucie County, Fla., near the city of Fort Pierce. The Commission’s Determination of Need for the proposed plant is the first step in a multi-step state and local approval process.
“In this decision, the Public Service Commission acknowledged that additional electric generation is needed to supply the growing energy needs of Florida’s Treasure Coast region and communities throughout Florida. The Commission also verified that FMPA’s investigation of power supply alternatives was rigorous and thorough, and it concluded that FMPA’s proposal is the most economical option to fill its customers’ power needs,” said FMPA General Manager and CEO Roger Fontes.
FMPA is a wholesale power agency owned by municipal electric utilities in Florida. Power from the proposed facility, known as the Treasure Coast Energy Center, will serve electric customers in Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Lake Worth and Clewiston, along with the cities of Bushnell, Fort Meade, Green Cove Springs, Havana, Jacksonville Beach, Key West, Kissimmee, Leesburg, Newberry, Ocala and Starke.
FMPA’s proposal is to build a high-efficiency, natural gas-fired unit that will generate 300 Megawatts, enough power to serve approximately 60,000 homes in Florida. This power plant, with its advanced environmental control technologies, will be one of the lowest emission plants in Florida and one of the highest efficiency plants in the state.
Treasure Coast Energy Center will be wholly owned by FMPA, but it will be operated under contract by Fort Pierce Utilities Authority. FMPA selected the plant’s location because it is near several FMPA cities in the Treasure Coast and southeast Florida that are experiencing increased demand for electricity. The proposed plant location would also be well-positioned to avoid congestion on the state’s high-voltage electric transmission system.
Electricity from the new facility is needed to support the increasing electricity usage of communities in the Treasure Coast and throughout Florida, to replace power purchase contracts that are due to expire and to displace the use of older, less efficient generation. FMPA members began planning for these power needs more than a year ago by completing a study that provides a blueprint for future power supply development. The plan identifies the best combination of resources to provide reliable power at the lowest cost. Results of the study indicate that FMPA’s cities will have a significant need for new power generation beginning in 2008 and recommend filling that need with a high-efficiency, natural gas-fired unit.
FMPA investigated a variety of power supply options, including renewable energy generation and energy conservation, to ensure its customers receive the most cost-effective and dependable option. Also, FMPA issued a request for proposals in September 2004 seeking to purchase power from another entity rather than build a new unit. The proposals received were evaluated based on power cost and other factors including reliability and risk. Both investigations showed that building a new unit is the best, most economical option. FMPA’s investigations were submitted to the PSC for review as part of the project’s Need for Power application.
FMPA filed applications with the PSC and other state regulatory authorities in May to begin the multi-step approval process prescribed by Florida’s Power Plant Siting Act. The law directs a number of state, federal and local government agencies to review a proposed new electrical power plant.
As a first step in the process, the PSC must determine whether the proposed plant is needed based on the need for electric system reliability, the need for adequate electricity and whether the proposed plant is the most cost-effective alternative. At its hearing on July 8, the Commission unanimously agreed the proposed Treasure Coast Energy Center fully satisfies those qualifications. An order formalizing the Commission’s approval is scheduled to be issued by July 28.
The next milestones in the approval process include a local land use hearing, a site certification hearing and, eventually, final approval by the Florida Governor and Cabinet. The entire process is expected to take more than a year and involve two public hearings in Fort Pierce. When this process is complete, FMPA’s member cities will make the final decision whether to finance and construct the proposed plant.
Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) is a wholesale power company owned by 29 municipal electric utilities. FMPA provides economies of scale in power generation and related services to support community-owned electric utilities. The members of FMPA serve approximately 1.8 million Floridians. FMPA’s members include Alachua, Bartow, Bushnell, Chattahoochee, Clewiston, Fort Meade, Fort Pierce, Gainesville, Green Cove Springs, Havana, Homestead, Jacksonville Beach, Key West, Kissimmee, Lake Worth, Lakeland, Leesburg, Moore Haven, Mount Dora, New Smyrna Beach, Newberry, Ocala, Orlando, Quincy, St. Cloud, Starke, Vero Beach, Wauchula and Williston. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.fmpa.com.