Advancing the state’s renewable energy growth, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved the need to expand a Solid Waste Authority (SWA) of Palm Beach County renewable energy facility. A purchased power agreement between SWA and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) for use of the increased power was also approved after Commissioners amended the agreement to increase cost benefits to customers.
Commissioner Eduardo E. Balbis, who made the motion to amend the agreement, said, “As a long time resident of Palm Beach County, I am pleased that this renewable energy facility expansion will not only stimulate the economy, but also benefit SWA and FPL customers.”
SWA will construct and operate the waste-to-energy (WTE) facility that will add approximately 93 megawatts (MW) of electrical generating capacity, enough energy to power about 21,000 homes. Both the existing 63 MW WTE facility, at the SWA Palm Beach County site since 1989, and the expansion will generate electrical power through the combustion of municipal solid waste.
To maximize savings to customers, Commissioners required the parties to extend the term of the purchased power agreement by 26 months and to recover the advanced payment for the plant extension in one year. FPL anticipates receiving power from the expanded facility in 2015, which will increase the renewable energy on the utility’s system by approximately 38 percent.
According to the parties’ need petition for the expansion, approximately 400 jobs will be created during construction and 70 jobs will be needed for plant operations.
In making its determination, the Commission considered the need for electric system reliability and integrity, the need for adequate electricity at a reasonable cost, and whether the proposed unit was the most cost-effective alternative available. The Commission also considered whether other renewable energy sources or conservation measures were available to FPL that might mitigate the need for the proposed plant.
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