FPL Adds Generation to Fort Myers Project
Florida Power & Light Co. said last week that in order to
more reliably serve its customers, it plans to add two 170 MW,
natural gas-fired peaking units to its Fort Myers capacity
expansion program. An FPL spokesperson said there are no estimates
for the cost of the facilities or how much gas they will consume.
Permitting for the peaking units would begin this summer, with
construction expected to begin in April 2002. The two units would
be available for commercial operation in April and May of 2003,
respectively. Overall, the company's current power generation
system is 18,700 MW, which includes power plants and purchased
"Adding to an existing site like Fort Myers is a very economical
and environmentally friendly approach. It especially makes sense as
we already are in the process of repowering the older, larger
generating units at the site with new technology that will use
natural gas instead of oil," said FPL President Paul Evanson.
FPL's Fort Myers repowering project involves increasing the
capacity of the plant from a 540 MW, oil-fired facility to a 1,400
MW natural gas-fired generation plant capable of meeting the
electricity needs of more than 300,000 homes and businesses. Site
construction began in July 1999 and the repowered facility is
scheduled to be in-service in mid 2002.
The project is of significant interest to Florida Gas
Transmission (FGT). FPL and FGT forged a partnership in 1998
allowing the pipeline company to serve the growing power needs of
the power company. Much of FGT's planned pipeline expansion is
dedicated to supplying the repowered Fort Myers plant. Plans
specifically call for the pipeline to extend its 30-inch West Leg
by about 114 miles from Hillsborough County, FL, to the Fort Myers'
generating station, which would receive up to 160,000 MMBtu/d of
capacity. Overall, the $350 million expansion would add 272,000
FPL is not the only company building generation in Florida.
Multiple power projects are being filed with the state due to the
forecasts of major electric demand. The state will require more
than 10,000 MW of new power generating capacity by 2007, according
to the Florida Public Service Commission's "Review of Electric
Utility 1998 10-Year Site Plans." If fueled entirely by gas, this
would require an additional 1.5 Bcf/d of capacity.
The new peaking units at Fort Myers will address in part a
Florida Public Service Commission decision last year that Florida's
investor-owned utilities should establish a 20% reserve margin. As
part of the same plan to boost reserves, FPL announced this past
December the addition of two identical 170 MW peaking units at its
Martin plant site on Florida's East Coast.
Yet despite this demand, building massive power plants in
Florida is proving to be a tricky process. Opposition to the new
plants, in the form of IOUs and landowners, has taken the one
potential generation builder, Duke Energy Power Services, to the
state supreme court saying the PSC does not have the authority to
certificate its planned merchant power plant in New Smyrna Beach,
FL. The court heard oral arguments on the case in early February
and should be issuing a decision soon.