The 48 gas turbines that the company uses to fire up quickly during peak demand rely on 1970s-era technology. Although the company touts a record of having power plants that are “67 percent cleaner than the national average,” it also acknowledges that these older so-called “peaker” plants emit some of the most toxic pollutants.
In order to comply with the new standard, FPL decided it was time to replace all of its peak demand turbines between now and 2016 and, in June, it proposed a $822 million project. The costs would be borne by customers based on a monthly fee – FPL estimates it is less than 75-cents a month for customers that use 1,000 kilowatt hours – and added to the portion of the bill used to comply with environmental regulations.
The proposal would allow the company to replace aging generators in Broward and Lee counties, avoid a lengthy rate review by utility regulators, update its emissions technology and still give the company a revenue boost that would allow it to increase its profits.
But not everyone agrees with FPL that this was the right approach and, on Tuesday, FPL will ask the Public Service Commission to dismiss its proposal while it conducts a series of environmental tests. The goal, the company said, is to come back and ask for the rate increase again, once the tests are complete.
“It could be the same project; it could be a different project,’’ said Mark Bubriski, Florida Power & Light spokesman. More here.