HOLLYWOOD, Fla., July 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With a rumble and a series of controlled explosions over approximately 60 seconds, Florida Power & Light Company today demolished its 1960s-era Port Everglades Power Plant in Hollywood, Fla., to make way for a new, clean energy center powered by American natural gas. The demolition of four 350-foot, candy-cane-striped stacks and four 7,500-ton boilers – a staple of South Florida's skyline for more than 50 years – occurred shortly after sunrise, launching a new era for FPL customers and South Florida. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120301/FL62738LOGO ) Today's power plant demolition, which is available for viewing at www.FPL.com/port, is the largest in Florida's history and the company's third in three years. These demolitions are the first step in replacing older, less efficient power plants with new, more efficient facilities that will help contribute to our country's energy independence. "All of this is helping us reduce our dependence on foreign oil – a 98 percent reduction since 2001 – while saving our customers' money by using more affordable American natural gas sources," said FPL President Eric Silagy. "We're always looking for ways to keep the cost of electricity low for families and businesses while doing what's right for Florida's energy future. Today's boom may have lasted about a minute, but it will be a long-term boom for our state, our economy, our environment and America's push for energy independence." Improving efficiency to keep customers' bills lowConstruction of FPL's Port Everglades Next Generation Clean Energy Center will begin in the first quarter of 2014 at the same location of the now-demolished power plant. The new, cleaner and more efficient power plant will begin serving customers in June 2016. The high-efficiency facility will generate enough electricity to power about 260,000 homes and businesses using 35 percent less fuel than the original plant. This improved fuel efficiency will result in the savings of hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel costs – all of which will be passed along to FPL customers, dollar for dollar. Investments in more efficient power plants are one reason FPL's typical residential customer bill is significantly lower than the national average and the lowest of all 55 electric utilities in Florida as of year-end 2012. Enhancing the environmentBy leveraging state-of-the-art technology, the new energy center will cut the carbon dioxide emissions rate in half and reduce overall air emissions by more than 90 percent. This is the equivalent of removing 46,000 cars from I-95 per year. With these improvements, FPL's environmental profile – already among the best in the United States – will be even more improved.