In honor of Florida Lineworker Appreciation Day (August 26), the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) and Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) will recognize lineworkers from around the state during August in a new social media campaign called “Celebrating our Hometown Heroes.” [Read more…] about Social Media Campaign Honors Florida Public Power Lineworkers
Florida Municipal Power Agency
The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) and Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) today announced four Florida public power leaders were honored with American Public Power Association (APPA) national awards. Recognized were Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director, Frederick (Fred) Bryant, former FMPA and FMEA General Counsel, Chris Gent, Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) Vice President of Corporate Communications, and Michael Perri, Jr., Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) Board member. The awards were presented this morning at the APPA National Conference & Public Power Expo in New Orleans. APPA is the national trade association for more than 2,000 U.S. community-owned electric utilities.
Project will be one of the largest municipal-backed solar projects in the nation
Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA), in conjunction with 12 Florida municipal electric utilities and NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC, today announced plans for a large-scale solar energy project to provide renewable energy for customers in the most cost-effective way.
“We are working hard to lower the cost of solar power, so that we can provide emissions-free electricity for customers and add to our already low emissions generation portfolio,” said FMPA’s Jacob Williams, general manager and CEO of the Orlando-based wholesale power agency. “Building a large project, like this, helps make solar more cost effective.”
The 12 cities that will purchase power from the project include Alachua, Bartow, Beaches Energy Services (Jacksonville Beach), Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, Homestead, Keys Energy Services (Key West), Kissimmee Utility Authority, Lake Worth, Ocala, Orlando Utilities Commission, Wauchula and Winter Park.
Largest Municipal-Backed Solar Project
This joint effort, known as the Florida Municipal Solar Project, is one of the largest municipal-backed solar projects in the United States. Approximately 900,000 solar panels will be installed on three solar sites expected to be built in Osceola and Orange Counties.
Combined, the three solar sites will total approximately 1,200 acres, or the equivalent of 900 football fields filled with solar panels. Total electricity output will be 223.5 megawatts, which is enough energy to power 45,000 typical Florida homes. Each solar site is designed to generate 74.5 megawatts.
Large-Scale Solar More Cost Effective
With 12 cities working together, they can collectively build larger, more efficient solar installations. The power output from this project will be equal to 37,250 average-size rooftop solar systems.
In addition, the ground-mounted solar panels for this project will be installed with a computer-controlled tracking system to follow the sun daily as it moves from east to west, maximizing power output.
As a result, the cost of solar energy from this project is about one-third the cost of a typical private, rooftop system.
Cost of Solar Power Competitive
The utilities will be able to continue to keep electricity rates affordable because the cost of solar energy from this project is competitive with other forms of power generation.
Another benefit of this project is that there is no up-front cost to the cities for participating. They will only pay for power when it is produced.
Power to Flow in 2020
FMPA is serving as the project coordinator, and the 12 municipal utilities, who are member-owners of FMPA, will purchase power from the project.
The builder, owner and operator of the solar farms is Florida-based NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC, whose parent company is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun.
After an estimated 18-month permitting process, construction is expected to begin in early 2020 and should be operational by June 30, 2020.
Ceremonial Signing Event
The Florida Municipal Solar Project was announced at an event held today at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa. Representatives from FMPA, NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC, and the 12 municipal electric utilities took part in a ceremonial signing of the project agreement and inscribed their names on a solar panel.
For more information on the Florida Solar Municipal Project or FMPA, visit fmpa.com.
Final approvals enable Vero to exit FMPA projects and sell its electric utility
The governing boards of the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) gave final approval today to agreements enabling the city of Vero Beach to exit FMPA’s power projects and sell its electric utility. The unanimous approvals by FMPA’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee were the last step after the required 19 cities had agreed to Vero Beach’s buy out of its FMPA contracts.
“FMPA and its members have invested significant time and effort to help Vero Beach facilitate the sale of its electric utility,” said Jacob Williams, FMPA’s general manager and CEO. “All the cities worked well together to create a solution that meets the needs of everyone.”
The city of Vero Beach wants to sell its electric utility. Vero Beach participates in three FMPA power supply projects. For Vero Beach to sell its system, the city needed to find another municipal utility to assume its obligations in the FMPA projects.
In February 2017, FMPA presented an option for Vero Beach to transfer its FMPA power projects to other cities. The 13 cities in FMPA’s All-Requirements Project (ARP) said they would consider taking the additional power if compensated for the increased costs and risks.
FMPA proposed that Vero Beach should pay FMPA’s ARP $108 million, which was verified by two independent analyses. As part of the agreement, Vero Beach would transfer its shares in FMPA’s Stanton, Stanton II and St. Lucie projects to FMPA’s ARP.
Since the plan was announced last February, FMPA’s management visited all 19 member cities numerous times to meet with local elected officials and make presentations prior to city votes. FMPA also secured necessary approvals from its bond trustee, credit rating agencies, other financial stakeholders and the primary owner-operators of the generating units.
Now that FMPA has fulfilled its responsibilities and obtained all necessary approvals for Vero Beach’s exit, the Agency will continue to work with Vero Beach to finalize remaining details for closing of the utility sale.
FMPA Board Names Jody Finklea as FMPA General Counsel
Finklea to advise statewide power agency and local municipals on electric utility issues
ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Municipal Power Agency’s (FMPA) Board of Directors selected Jody Lamar Finklea as its next General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer, replacing Fred Bryant, who announced his plans last month to retire.
“FMPA is fortunate to have someone with Jody’s knowledge and expertise,” said Bill Conrad, FMPA’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Jody has a deep understanding of Florida law and its application to utilities and cities. He knows FMPA’s business in depth, making this transition seamless.”
Finklea joined FMPA in 2001 and has held several positions during his tenure. Most recently, he served as Deputy General Counsel and Manager of Legal Affairs.
As FMPA’s General Counsel, Finklea will continue to represent the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA), as requested by FMEA and its Board of Directors, on utility issues that could impact members of both organizations. Most of FMPA’s members are also members of FMEA, so this partnership provides value to both organizations.
Finklea holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., a master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Florida and a juris doctor degree from The Florida State University College of Law. He is admitted to The Florida Bar and is board certified as an expert in city, county and local government law.
Finklea is active in the American Public Power Association (APPA) and serves as the 2017 Chairman of APPA’s Legal Section. In 2011, Finklea was recognized by APPA as a Rising Star in Public Power. He holds a rating of AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell peer review attorney ratings.
Power supplier to municipal utilities takes
steps to secure power generation capability
Florida Municipal Power Agency General Manager and CEO Jacob Williams issued a statement regarding preparations for Hurricane Irma.
“FMPA and its operating partners have been busy preparing its power plant sites in Key West, Fort Pierce, Kissimmee, Orlando and Port St. Lucie for Hurricane Irma. The plants are as ready as they can be, and we have put contingency plans in place should some of the generating units be impacted by the storm. We are doing all that we can to make sure we can generate power for our member cities during and after the storm.
“Essential plant personnel will be safely sheltered at the plants during the storm. As soon as the storm passes and conditions allow, the generating fleet will be assessed, including the units that were taken offline, for any damage. Generators will then be brought back online, if possible, and as needed.
“Hurricane Irma is a massive storm that has the potential for life-threatening damage. We have taken steps to be prepared for its impacts, and we encourage all Floridians to do the same.”
FMPA will post updates on FMPA’s Facebook and Twitter pages.