FMPA to Expand Cane Island Power Park with Natural Gas-Fueled Generator
ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 9, 2008 – Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) announced today plans to expand the Cane Island Power Park in Osceola County, Fla., by constructing a new, high-efficiency electrical generator that will run on clean-burning natural gas. The new generator is needed to fulfill customers’ growing electricity needs in an environmentally responsible manner.
Growing Communities, Growing Needs
FMPA is a wholesale power agency owned by municipal electric utilities in Florida. FMPA provides all the wholesale power needs of 15 cities, including the Central Florida communities of Kissimmee, Leesburg, Ocala and Bushnell, as well as Clewiston, Fort Meade, Fort Pierce, Green Cove Springs, Town of Havana, Jacksonville Beach, Key West, Lake Worth, Newberry, Starke and Vero Beach.
Florida is among the fastest growing states in the nation, and as its communities grow, so does the need for electricity. FMPA’s long-term power supply plan shows that member cities’ electricity needs are projected to increase almost 30 percent by 2021. Since power resources can take years to plan, license and construct, FMPA must take action now to keep the lights on in the future.
Striking the Right Balance
While meeting the needs of a growing population, Florida is also addressing the challenge of global climate change. To meet the dual challenge of providing reliable, affordable electricity while achieving our state’s environmental goals, FMPA is developing a balanced mix of power resources that includes both proven, reliable technologies, like generators fueled by clean-burning natural gas, as well as innovative renewable energy technologies.
FMPA members currently receive power from two renewable power sources, and FMPA is actively seeking to increase the role that renewable resources play in the power mix. For example, FMPA issued a request on Dec. 5 seeking solar photovoltaic equipment or a contract to purchase power generated with solar technology.
“Renewable technologies are an important part of our plans. We must also balance innovation with reliability,” said FMPA General Manager and CEO Roger Fontes. “Proven, clean-burning natural gas generation will serve as a bridge to the future, meeting today’s energy needs as we develop and deploy the solutions of tomorrow.”
Natural Gas—A Reliable, Responsible Choice
FMPA’s proposal is to expand the existing Cane Island Power Park with a new high-efficiency, natural gas-fueled combined cycle unit. The generator would be capable of generating 300 megawatts, enough electricity to serve approximately 60,000 homes in Florida.
FMPA’s long-term power supply plan indicates that additional generating capacity must be added by 2011 to ensure the supply of electricity will be adequate to meet the demand. FMPA’s investigations show that the proposed expansion is the most cost-effective option to meet that need. The expansion is estimated to cost FMPA between $300 million and $400 million. A more exact budget will be set after design engineers and construction contractors are selected.
As part of its investigations, FMPA investigated a variety of alternative power supply options, including renewable energy generation, to ensure that FMPA’s option to build at Cane Island was the best choice to ensure cost-effective and dependable power supply. Additionally, FMPA considered the role of energy conservation to offset the need for new generating facilities. FMPA and its member cities currently offer a variety of energy conservation programs. However, the projected need for power is too large to be offset by energy conservation alone. State agencies will review these determinations, as part of the power plant licensing and permitting process for the new unit.
The proposed expansion at Cane Island was also determined to be the best choice for the public and the environment. The plant will be fueled by clean-burning natural gas, using proven generating technology. It will be one of the cleanest and most efficient plants in Florida. Also, to conserve precious water resources, the power plant is designed to use treated wastewater. Sound and visual impacts will be minimal.
The project will also provide significant value to the local community. Construction will create up to 300 jobs at peak, and spending created by the project will benefit the local economy.
The 1,000-acre Cane Island Power Park is located near Intercession City in Northwest Osceola County, Fla. The site is jointly owned by FMPA and Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA), a community-owned utility providing electric and telecommunications services to 170,000 residents in five Central Florida counties. The utilities have been partners at the site since the first unit began operating in 1995.
Under the terms of a draft agreement, the proposed new unit would be wholly owned by FMPA and operated under contract by KUA personnel. It will be located adjacent to the three existing units at the site. The agreement that sets forth these terms remains subject to final approval by KUA’s Board of Directors and FMPA’s Executive Committee.
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with KUA. As a power plant operator, as a business partner and as a part of its community, KUA excels in every way,” said Fontes. “Also, our evaluations show that Cane Island is the best location for new generation, due to strategic considerations including the site’s location on the state’s electrical transmission and natural gas transportation networks.”
“Since its inception in 1995, the Cane Island Power Park has been a model for efficiency and environmental stewardship,” said KUA president and general manager Jim Welsh. “We are proud that FMPA has again chosen to partner with KUA to help meet the future energy needs of our growing state.”
FMPA and KUA plan an open and ongoing dialogue with the local community about the proposed unit. FMPA and KUA will share information with the public through activities including an open house, e-newsletters and other community outreach activities.
The proposed expansion must also pass a rigorous approval process by public agencies. Many independent experts will examine FMPA’s proposal, and the process will take more than a year. To build the plant, FMPA must prove that it is necessary for the welfare of citizens while protecting the public and the environment. FMPA is expected to file applications to begin the licensing process in spring 2008.
More information about the proposed expansion of Cane Island Power Park can be found on FMPA’s Web site here.
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Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) is a wholesale power company owned by 30 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 2 million Floridians. FMPA’s members are Alachua, Bartow, Blountstown, 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.