Florida utility aims to eliminate carbon emissions by 2045

Jun 15, 2022, 11:56 AM | Updated: 12:30 pm

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s largest electricity provider has announced plans to eliminate its carbon emissions by 2045 by halting its fossil fuel usage and greatly increasing its reliance on solar energy, including using it to turn water into hydrogen to power its generating plants.

Florida Power & Light, which serves 5.7 million homes and businesses or about half the state, said the multibillion dollar plan will not result in any price increases beyond what would be anticipated normally.

FPL’s parent company, NextEra Energy, said in its announcement this week that when its “Real Zero” plan is fully implemented 23 years from now, 83% of the utility’s electricity will be generated by solar, including “green hydrogen,” or come from battery storage from periods when excess power is produced.

Green hydrogen is a process where solar power is used to break apart water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. That hydrogen is then used as a fuel source, eliminating the company’s use of natural gas. Most of the solar facilities will be built on converted, unused farmland in the central part of the state.

The company says another 16% of FPL’s power will be generated by its two current nuclear plants and 1% from renewable natural gas, which is created from biomass such as plant waste. It has set five-year goals starting in 2025 that it says will allow environmental groups and others to audit its progress. The plan still must be approved by the state utility commission.

FPL spokesman Chris McGrath said Wednesday that the plan is a continuation of the company’s move since 2001 to reduce its carbon emissions. At that time, about a quarter of its electricity was generated by burning oil and coal, but that has been eliminated in Florida. A Georgia coal plant in which FPL owns a 25% stake will close by 2028.

Today, about two-thirds of FPL’s power comes from natural gas, which generates carbon emissions but less than oil and coal. Another 20% comes from nuclear, 4% from solar, while the rest comes from the Georgia plant and other sellers.

“This is a goal that we are setting because we think the technology exists and it can be done in a cost-effective way for our customers,” McGrath said. Wind power will not be used in Florida because that would require purchasing expensive coastal property to erect turbines, a move that would also be opposed by the tourism industry.

Rising levels of greenhouse gases are increasing global temperatures and fueling extreme weather, from wildfires to violent storms. The burning of coal, oil and natural gas for energy production is a major contributor and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the public is “firmly on track toward an unlivable world,” unless emissions fall faster than countries have previously committed.

Harrison G. Fell, a senior researcher at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, said FPL can reach its goals by 2045, “but it won’t be without challenges and some of the interim targets may be more difficult to meet.”

For example, he said, FPL’s goal to double its solar production by 2025 could run into problems finding supplies and production sites and then connecting those sites to the grid. He said the Biden administration’s policies that have lowered tariffs on imported solar equipment should help, but rising prices for raw materials could hamper FPL’s plan.

Still, he said, eliminating its use of natural gas might benefit FPL as the fuel’s price is soaring and could remain high.

“If that’s the case, becoming less natural gas reliant is not only a good environmental move by FPL, but may also prove to be a good long-run, low-cost energy production strategy as well,” Fell said.

NextEra’s stock was selling at around $74 per share in mid-afternoon trading on Wednesday, up about $2.50 or 3.5% for the day.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

15 hours ago

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer...

Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

15 hours ago

audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents blocked...

Associated Press

GOP advances Garland contempt charges after White House exerts executive privilege over Biden audio

The move to release audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents was blocked on Thursday by the White House.

2 days ago

Asylum processing for new migrants: Changes could come soon...

Associated Press

The Biden administration is planning more changes to quicken asylum processing for new migrants

The Biden administration is planning to quicken the asylum processing for new migrants as an interim step rather than an executive order.

3 days ago

Record-setting rally for U.S. stocks reflects inflation slowing down...

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares advance after another round of Wall St records

The S&P 500 jumped 1.2% to top its prior high set a month and a half ago. This move reflects a record-setting rally for U.S. stocks.

3 days ago

This combo image shows President Joe Biden, left, Jan. 5, 2024, and Republican presidential candida...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump agree to hold presidential debates in June and in September

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have agreed to hold two campaign debates, on June 27 hosted by CNN and on Sept. 10 hosted by ABC.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Florida utility aims to eliminate carbon emissions by 2045