Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) said Monday it will demolish its 1,205 MW oil-fired Port Everglades Power Plant in Port Everglades, FL, on July 16 to make room for a new facility to be fueled by U.S. natural gas. The company called the move one more step toward its goal of energy independence.

The power plant demolition, said to be the largest of its kind in Florida, is the third power plant FPL will demolish in three years as part of the company’s strategy to modernize its power-generation system. The state-regulated utility said its investments in fuel-efficient power plants that run on “American natural gas” have reduced the company’s use of foreign oil by 98% since 2001.

The new $1.2 billion Port Everglades facility is to generate power using 35% less fuel per megawatt-hour and help keep customer bills low, FPL said. “Over its 30-year operational life, the plant’s improved efficiency will produce more than $400 million in net savings for customers, helping to keep electric bills low,” it said.

The project is expected to create an estimated 650 direct jobs and another 1,000 indirect jobs during the height of construction. In the first full year of operation, FPL said the investment would deliver about $20 million in new tax revenue for local governments and schools.

Compared to the existing plant, the new plant is expected to cut the carbon dioxide emissions rate in half and reduce air emissions by more than 90%, which is the equivalent of removing about 46,000 cars from the road each year. The new energy center would require no additional cooling water or land and will utilize existing transmission infrastructure facilities.

Companies across the country have been looking at natural gas as a way to clean up their power fleet’s footprint. Late last month, NRG Energy Inc. and Tenaska Inc. separately announced plans to either replace existing coal-fired facilities with natural gas, retrofit existing coal-fired plants to natural gas, or scrap newly proposed coal-fired plants (see Daily GPI, June 27).

President Obama’s climate action plan, announced in a speech last Tuesday, comes down hard on coal-fired power plants, pledges continued support for the development and use of non-polluting renewable energy and promotes “cleaner-burning natural gas” as a bridge to a clean future (see Daily GPI, June 26).

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