FPL Group plans to boost U.S. solar energy production; Will invest in smart network to enhance utility customers’ energy management and offer renewable energy products nationwide
JUNO BEACH, Fla. – FPL Group, Inc., (NYSE: FPL) one of the country’s leading generators of renewable electric power, today announced a $2.4 billion investment program aimed at increasing U.S. solar thermal energy output and reducing carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.
FPL Group, and its subsidiaries Florida Power & Light and FPL Energy, announced the following three initiatives today:
* Investment of up to $1.5 billion in new solar thermal generating facilities in Florida and California over the next seven years, starting with a project at Florida Power & Light (FPL).
* Investment of up to $500 million by FPL to create a smart network that will provide its 4.5 million customers with enhanced energy management capabilities.
* The launch by FPL Energy of a new consumer education program and new products that could increase renewable energy resources by at least $400 million over the first five years of the program.
“These new investments, coupled with our recent announcement to invest an estimated $20 billion in new wind generation, demonstrate FPL Group’s continued commitment to improve the environment and reaffirm our leadership position among U.S. utilities to combat global warming,” said Lew Hay, chairman and CEO of FPL Group.
Former President Bill Clinton announced FPL Group’s new commitments at today’s session of the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, an event that fosters shared commitment by individuals, businesses and governments to confront major world issues and achieve real change.
“We at FPL Group are proud of our leadership position in clean energy and are pleased to take yet another step towards helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Hay. “We thank President Clinton for challenging leaders throughout the world to address energy and climate change issues, and we are pleased that we can respond to his call with action.
“We also are deeply honored that Florida Governor Charlie Crist joined us in person today to receive this recognition at the Clinton Global Initiative Forum. Gov. Crist is providing great leadership in our state in addressing climate change,” said Hay.
Florida Power & Light to build new solar thermal facility
One of the country’s largest electric utilities, FPL is planning to build 300 megawatts of solar generating capacity in Florida using Ausra, Inc.’s solar thermal technology. According to estimates, this new facility will avoid nearly 11 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions over a 20-year period. As a first step, FPL expects to construct a 10-megawatt project. Subject to Ausra meeting agreed-upon cost and technical specifications, as well as FPL gaining regulatory and related approvals, the utility will expand the project to a 300-megawatt facility.
Florida Power & Light to create smart network
In a second initiative, FPL said it plans to invest up to $500 million to install a smart network utilizing state-of-the-art technology in the 35 Florida counties it serves.
This new program will allow customers to view their energy consumption online every day. Real-time understanding of energy use means real-time opportunities to conserve. Smart meters installed at residences and businesses will offer customers the chance to cut power bills and lower electricity demand.
At the same time, FPL will be able to use this new smart network to develop better energy management programs. The combination of improved energy management and lower electricity demand from customers means that FPL will be able to reduce the volume of fossil fuels burned, thus cutting carbon dioxide emissions even more.
FPL Energy to launch renewable energy education and consumer participation program
In a third initiative, FPL Energy plans to launch a nationwide renewable energy program early next year that will allow residential and business customers to take an active role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing new sources of renewable energy. This project is expected to generate revenues of about $400 million during its first five years of operation, and 100 percent of these revenues will be used to develop new capacity in renewable energy.
Under this program, consumers will be able to purchase products associated with Renewable Energy Credits (REC) generated by FPL Energy’s renewable energy facilities. By doing so, participants will be able to help offset their own carbon footprints.
The program will be supported by a national educational effort that will explain how our products work and how purchasing them will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
FPL Group building on clean energy leadership position
These new programs will build on FPL Group’s long-standing commitment to improve the environment, and represent important additions to the company’s clean energy portfolio.
FPL Group’s competitive energy supplier subsidiary, FPL Energy, has many years of experience in solar power. It owns and operates the world’s largest solar thermal fields, located in the Mojave Desert. FPL Energy also is the country’s largest generator of wind power, with 52 wind facilities in 16 states.
In July, FPL Energy made another major decision aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, unveiling a $20 billion plan to triple its nearly 4,500-megawatt wind generating capacity. The company expects to add between 8,000 and 10,000 megawatts of wind energy by the end of 2012.
FPL is also a leader in energy conservation and efficiency
Department of Energy data show that FPL is No. 1 in energy conservation programs among U.S. electric utilities and No. 4 in energy efficiency programs.
FPL Group’s 36,000-megawatt power generation fleet has one of the lowest carbon dioxide emission rates in the country. For example, if the rest of the electric utility industry were generating electricity with the same carbon dioxide emissions rate per megawatt hour as FPL Group, the U.S. would be able to meet its Kyoto target for total carbon emissions without any emissions reductions from other sectors.
FPL Group’s CEO Hay is a strong advocate for a mandatory, nationwide policy to place a price on greenhouse gases. He advocates a carbon fee, calling it the most efficient and effective manner to slow, stop and eventually reduce carbon emissions. A copy of FPL Group’s proposed carbon fee policy can be obtained on www.fplgroup.com.
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