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Ratepayers to Save Big Bucks As PSC Gives FPL Approval to Buy and Close Indiantown Plant

Florida Power & Light (FPL) received approval (Docket No. 150154-EI/Order No. PS-16-0419-CFO-EI) from the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) on October 3 – after the members had deliberated for less than 30 minutes – to buy a second coal-fired power plant that it eventually intends to close, according to a report in the Miami Herald.

As a result, the utility will spend $451.5 million of ratepayers’ money to purchase the 330-megawatt Indiantown Cogeneration plant in Martin County from Calypso Energy Holdings.

FPL says the deal is anticipated to save customers between $100 million and $151 million over the next nine years, as it will end a long-term agreement in which FPL was to purchase power from Calypso through 2025.

“Today, all parties agreed that a streamlined hearing process was in the best interest of FPL’s customers,” said PSC Commissioner Lisa Edgar. “Based on the evidence provided, this purchase will result in significant savings for customers.”

Public Service Commission member Ronald Brise said he supported the sale due to the “positive impact on consumer bills” and a projected reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions resulting from the shutdown of the coal-fired plant, according to the report in the local news outlet.

State Public Counsel J.R. Kelly, who represents consumers in utility issues, said it appears FPL is paying the lowest possible price for the plant, based on a review of the deal.

“The bottom line is that it’s going to save customers money, and that’s the right thing to do,” Kelly said.

FPL plans to shutter operations at the 250-acre site after 2018, a step that is projected to remove the annual emissions of 657,000 tons of carbon dioxide. The utility hasn’t announced future plans for the site.

“At this time, FPL has no specific plans for the Indiantown property,” FPL spokesperson Sarah Gatewood said in an email to the Miami Herald. “However, given the property’s proximity to existing transmission and natural gas infrastructure, it could be a prime location for future natural gas and or solar generation.”

Gatewood added that the company hopes to complete the sale by the end of the year, with operations at the plant initially reduced to 5 percent.

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