JUNO BEACH, Fla., July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Just days after Floridians celebrate our nation's independence on the Fourth of July with a bang, another type of independence will be celebrated with a boom. Florida Power & Light Company has officially started its countdown to energy independence in anticipation of the exciting controlled-explosive demolition of the iconic red and white smokestacks at the Port Everglades Power Plant. The July 16 demolition, the largest of its kind in Florida, will make way for a new, more fuel-efficient plant that will run on clean, low-cost American natural gas, instead of foreign oil. Port Everglades is the third power plant FPL will demolish in three years as part of the company's strategy to modernize its power-generation system.
FPL is working with Port Everglades, U.S. Coast Guard, Broward County Sheriff's Office, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, transportation and security officials along with residents and businesses in the area to coordinate the demolition activities and ensure the safety of the early-morning event and the surrounding community.
Traffic Traffic on Eller Drive and Eisenhower Boulevard will be stopped briefly during the early-morning event so that motorists are not distracted or alarmed by the visual spectacle of these large structures falling to the ground. The Coast Guard and marine police will establish a perimeter in the waters around Port Everglades and FPL's power plant to ensure that boaters do not enter the safety exclusion zone. Access on land will be restricted around the FPL plant and within the Port Everglades property. Law enforcement may extend the restricted area to facilitate their control of pedestrian and vehicular traffic the morning of the demolition.Noise/Vibration The demolition contractor has taken great care to ensure safety and minimize the vibrations caused by the controlled explosions. Cushioning berms will be in place under the stacks and boilers to stagger their fall to the ground and ensure that vibrations are well below regulatory guidelines. Anticipated effects of the explosive demolition would be similar to an 18-wheeler truck passing by. Likewise, the quantity of explosives to be detonated is being held to a minimum to ensure that noise levels near the site are comparable to a typical Florida thunderstorm. How To Watch It FPL has utilized a variety of channels to ensure the public in the surrounding areas of Broward County are aware of the demolition, including communicating through local news media and social media. Due to the plant's location near a busy transportation and commerce center, along with major highways, FPL is not hosting any public viewing events. However, the company is coordinating with local media to share this historic event on television and will provide updates on the company's Twitter ( www.twitter.com/insideFPL) and Facebook ( www.facebook.com/FPLconnect) sites. Customers can also watch the 6:45 a.m. demolition live at www.FPL.com/port. Extensive video footage from various angles around the plant, including those from within the blast zone and from the air, will be made available to the media and posted on www.FPL.com/port following the demolition. "We appreciate all of our partners' cooperation and understanding as we make this a safe and exciting day in the history of our company and South Florida," said FPL President Eric Silagy. "This important investment has received broad support from the community, environmentalists, business leaders and the Florida Public Service Commission – all of whom recognize its significant benefits – including fuel savings, reliability, reduced emissions, job creation and increased tax revenue for the local community. We're excited to demolish this old plant and take another step toward making us more energy independent." EfficiencyThe new $1.2 billion Port Everglades facility will generate power using 35 percent less fuel per megawatt-hour and help keep customer bills low. By using natural gas, and less of it, every dollar FPL saves in fuel is a dollar that remains in customers' pockets. 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. Economic Impact The project will also create an estimated 650 direct jobs and another 1,000 indirect jobs during the height of construction. In the first full year of operation, this investment will deliver approximately $20 million in new tax revenue for local governments and schools. Environmental ImpactBy rebuilding this plant with the latest technology, FPL's environmental profile – already among the best in the United States – will further improve. Compared to the existing plant, the new plant will cut the carbon dioxide emissions rate in half and reduce air emissions by more than 90 percent. That's the equivalent of removing about 46,000 cars from the road each year. The new energy center will require no additional cooling water or land and will utilize existing transmission infrastructure facilities. Energy IndependenceFPL's investments in fuel efficient power plants that run on clean, low-cost American natural gas have reduced the company's use of foreign oil by 98 percent since 2001. Port Everglades will be the third power plant that FPL has demolished in three years that will be replaced with a new, clean energy center. Combined, these efforts are making America more energy independent. Florida Power & Light Company Florida Power & Light Company is the largest rate-regulated electric utility in Florida and serves the third-largest number of customers of any electric utility in the United States. FPL serves approximately 4.6 million customer accounts and is a leading Florida employer with approximately 10,000 employees as of year-end 2012. During the five-year period ended December 31, 2012, the company delivered the best service reliability among Florida investor-owned utilities. As of year-end 2012, its typical residential customer bills are the lowest in Florida, and based on data available in July 2012, are about 26 percent below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.FPL.com. SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company