The Florida Public Service Commission moved to accelerate the development of a diversified fuel portfolio for the state’s largest electric utility Tuesday, granting Florida Power & Light (FP&L) a conditional exemption from certain administrative rules governing new power plant development.
To help the utility meet projected needs for more power in 2012 using new clean coal technologies in place of natural gas, the Commission granted the utility an exemption from a process that allows parties to bid to provide the additional power the utility needs.
“A diversified fuel portfolio insulates ratepayers from high-cost fuels and enhances long-term stability of Florida’s economy,” Commission Chairman Lisa Polak Edgar said. “This is a fact-specific exemption for the purpose of making sure reliable, affordable power is available to our growing population.”
FP&L’s plans to begin construction on the first of two coal-fired 850-megawatt plants this year were delayed when the St. Lucie County Commission declined to issue zoning permits for the project. Citing delays caused by the need to relocate the new generating units, the utility sought an exemption from a portion of the Commission’s bidding rules.
The exemption approved Tuesday gives the utility until May 1, 2007, to file a determination of need for the additional power plants.
FP&L is the state’s largest provider of retail electricity with more than four million customer accounts.