FPL, Miami-Dade County launch initiative to boost solar energy, reclaim wastewater

Published on February 01, 2018 by Aaron Martin

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Miami-Dade County will see an additional 1 million solar panels, a new reclaimed water system, and zero-emission nuclear capacity under a new effort launched by Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) and the county on Tuesday.

In addition to adding more than 1 million solar panels to the county and a reclaimed water system that can recycle more than 60 million gallons of wastewater per day, FPL has committed to continue upgrades to its Turkey Point nuclear power plant in southern Miami-Dade County.

“Miami-Dade is a vital economic hub and the most heavily populated county served by FPL,” FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy said. “What we do here is important to our entire system, which makes long-term planning critically important. These plans are ambitious, but with support from the community, we believe they are achievable. As a company, we firmly believe in aiming high while remaining grounded in reality, trusting science and economics to help us make the right long-term decisions for our customers.”

Currently, FPL operates 10 solar plants in Florida. Plans call for a new 74.5-megawatt solar plant in southwestern Miami-Dade County that is expected to become operational in 2020.

“I am proud to have Miami-Dade County partner with Florida Power and Light and bring our 2.7 million residents a viable, sustainable solution to our wastewater challenge,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said. “Our Water and Sewer Department is working directly with FPL to develop a plan that will put otherwise wasted water to good use, which will not only benefit the environment but also all Miamians. In fact, this plan has the potential to recycle more than 20 billion gallons of freshwater and prevent the removal of 10 billion gallons of Floridan aquifer water each year.”

Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, has called plans to use treated wastewater to help meet South Florida’s energy needs a “win-win.”

“It decreases water demand on the environment and uses water that is currently wasted today,” Eikenberg said. “We applaud Mayor Gimenez and FPL for this public-private partnership to enhance our water management strategies within the Everglades ecosystem. Achieving additional treatment levels for use at Turkey Point that are suitable for release into sensitive wetlands is an important step.”

Melissa Meeker, the co-CEO of the Water Research Foundation, said the advanced water reclamation system makes a “paradigm shift in water management toward resilient systems that integrate wastewater and stormwater systems with regional energy infrastructure.”