FMPA Partners with other Utilities to Build North Florida Power Project
ORLANDO, Fla., June 2, 2005 – To meet projected needs for electricity in Florida after 2010, Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) is working with other community-owned electric utilities to construct an 800 megawatt power plant in North Florida.
In addition to FMPA, the utilities involved in the North Florida Power Project include JEA, a retail electricity supplier in Jacksonville, Fla., and parts of three adjacent counties, and Reedy Creek Improvement District, which serves parts of Orange and Osceola counties near Orlando. JEA has been selected as project manager.
“By partnering together, each utility owner can have access to the lower unit cost of constructing a large power plant,” said FMPA General Manager and CEO Roger Fontes. FMPA, the largest individual participant, will receive approximately 300 megawatts of the plant’s output.
The three utilities are seeking a 2,500-acre site in North Florida for the project. “After a statewide search for suitable sites, we have concentrated our efforts on an area near Perry, Fla., in Taylor County. This area is our preferred choice, but we are looking at other sites in North Florida,” Fontes said.
In addition to land availability, the optimum location needs to have access to rail and electric transmission corridors, offer an adequate water supply, meet regulatory and environmental requirements, and be compatible from a land-use standpoint. JEA’s Real Estate Department is reviewing potential sites.
“Regardless of where we locate the plant, we’re committed to being a good neighbor and a good community partner,” said Fontes. “We will work closely with the local community.”
FMPA has a significant need for new power generation. During the next 10 years, FMPA requires approximately 1,200 megawatts of new generating capacity to keep pace with the projected growth in electricity usage, to replace expiring purchase power contracts and to replace aging generating units.
The utilities partners evaluated the power generation options and decided to develop a coal-fueled facility in order to diversify fuel dependence, have a secure domestic fuel supply and avoid the volatile price swings of natural gas.
The proposed 800 megawatt unit is expected to cost $1.4 billion. It would create up to 1,500 construction jobs and about 150 full-time jobs when it begins commercial operation in 2012.
Fontes said, “FMPA is planning to add a significant amount of new generation. Some of it will be fueled by natural gas; however, relying too much on natural gas creates problems for our customers. We need to reduce our growing dependence on natural gas as a fuel for generating electricity. We’ve looked at the options, and we think coal is the best choice for some of our new generation. Coal is abundant, affordable and, with modern environmental control technologies, cleaner than many older natural gas- and oil-fired power plants that are still in use.”
“We will use the most advanced technologies to ensure that it will be one of the cleanest plants of its kind in the country,” said Mike Lawson, a JEA employee selected as project manager for the new plant. “We are committed to minimizing emissions and protecting the environment. In fact, about one-third of project cost, more than $450 million, will be spent to install the best environmental control technologies available.”
Lawson has been with JEA for 21 years. He worked on the construction of the St. Johns River Power Park and recently as project manager for the Brandy Branch Combined Cycle Plant, two of JEA’s three largest power plants. He also served as site construction manager at JEA’s Northside Generating Station.
Development of the North Florida Power Project will be contingent upon site selection and securing the necessary approvals prescribed by Florida’s power plant licensing law.
In addition to the three utilities involved to date, the City of Tallahassee Electric Utility is currently examining potential participation in the project.
The utility partners are developing a project website and plan to establish a toll-free phone number to receive and answer questions from the public.
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.