Florida Power & Light (FPL) demolished its last remaining coal-fired plant in the Sunshine State, signaling a permanent transition to cleaner energy.
FPL, which serves more than 10 million people across the state, imploded the 495-foot chimney stack on Wednesday, marking a major milestone in the company’s green energy makeover. The Indiantown Cogeneration Plant in Martin County, built in 1995, was purchased by FPL from Calypso Energy in 2016 with plans to ultimately shut it down. The tower has loomed over the town for two decades but has not been operational for at least two years.
Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, said the move to modernize the company’s energy portfolio has been a long time coming, noting the importance the shift will have on future generations.
“This has been a long journey of trying to enter into a next phase of how we end up serving our customers, our community and state, and setting an example for the rest of the country and the rest of the world,” Silagy said in a presentation. “I want our children to look back on today and think, ‘You know what, they really did the right thing’.”
The demolition of the tower and conveyor happened just after 9 a.m. and took only 8 seconds to complete, according to Mark Loizeaux, president and owner of CDI Construction Demolition, Inc. Loizeaux said 171 pounds of explosives were used at 104 locations on the conveyor and 340 locations in the chimney. The power company showcased the demolition to select members of the public and streamed the event on YouTube.
Silagy added that FPL will tear down the rest of the plant later this year and make a $100 million investment to construct a 75-megawatt, 300,000-panel solar energy facility in Martin County.
“Today is about ending one era, and I’m very happy to announce, ushering in a new era. I’m really pleased to announce that we are going to start construction of FPL’s newest solar energy center,” Silagy said.