OUC Will Dramatically Increase Solar Energy
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
(Please click on red links & note magenta)
Good news, early last month, OUC Commissioners approved plan to add 149 megawatts of solar power, in italics, below:
Increased Solar Capacity Moves Orlando Closer to Renewable Energy Goal
ORLANDO (Oct. 8, 2019) – The Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC – The Reliable One) took a major step today in transitioning to renewable energy resources with the approval of a plan to add 149 megawatts of solar power to OUC’s generation portfolio doubling the utility’s current efforts. The additional solar capacity would provide enough energy to power 27,000 residential customers.
At their monthly meeting, Commissioners gave OUC the go-ahead to negotiate two separate 20-year power purchase agreements (PPA) with clean-energy provider Invenergy.
Under the proposed PPAs, Invenergy would build and operate two 74.5-megawatt solar arrays, each covering 500 acres, near existing OUC transmission lines in Osceola County. The arrays would come online in 2022 and 2023. OUC also plans to test battery storage as back-up generation when cloud cover or nightfall inhibit solar power production.
“As Orlando has grown and transformed over the years, so has OUC. And now, OUC is powering the rapid growth of our community with clean, renewable energy and innovative storage technologies,” said Clint Bullock, OUC General Manager & CEO.
Coupled with the 108.5 megawatts of solar scheduled to come online next year, the proposed PPAs would make OUC the largest user of solar energy in Florida on a watt-per-customer basis, according to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
Early last year, in 2018:
OUC board gave its General Manager & CEO the authority to enter into a contract to purchase between 60 to 120 megawatts of solar power that would significantly increase the utility’s investment in renewable energy. The agreement partners OUC with the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA), which represents 31 municipal utilities, to jointly purchase energy from new solar farms to power homes and businesses across the state.
OUC would serve as the anchor of the project, by purchasing up to 54 percent of potentially as much as 223.5 megawatts of solar energy capacity from facilities that would be built in rural Orange and Osceola counties.
“The project is our way of leveraging economies of scale to increase OUC’s investment in renewables, and provide an opportunity to work with other municipal utilities to add large-scale solar energy to their generation portfolio,” said Ken Ksionek, General Manager & CEO. “Additionally, the project would add between four to seven times more solar to OUC’s energy portfolio as we look to ensure clean, renewable energy for generations to come.”
OUC and FMPA received seven proposals for solar generation contracts and deemed the most responsive to be from NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC. The company will build at least two or possibly three 74.5-megawatt solar farms. The facilities will likely be built near existing transmission lines for efficiency. A typical 74.5-megawatt solar farm is composed of more than 300,000 solar panels and generates enough energy to power approximately 15,000 homes. OUC and FMPA will receive the energy in the form of a Power Purchase Agreement, which means no upfront costs and the utilities only pay for energy when it is produced.
FMPA is working with up to 11 of its members who are considering participating in the project. The ultimate participation levels will determine whether two or three solar farms will be built.
“It’s great to have municipal utilities working together on a large-scale solar project,” said Jacob Williams, FMPA General Manager and CEO. “This large-scale joint effort enables us to provide the most cost-effective way to add solar for customers.”
The partnership aims to have the project operational in mid-2020. The agreement will not impact OUC rates as the energy cost, which has not been finalized, is expected to be competitive with other forms of power generation.
About OUC—The Reliable One
Established in 1923 by a special act of the Florida Legislature, OUC—The Reliable One is the second largest municipal utility in Florida. OUC provides electric and water services to more than 400,000 customer accounts in Orlando, St. Cloud and parts of unincorporated Orange and Osceola counties.
Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) is a wholesale power agency owned by 31 municipal electric utilities. FMPA’s mission is to provide power that is competitively priced, reliable and clean, as well as provide value-added services for its owner-customers. The 31 members of FMPA serve approximately two million Floridians and employ nearly 3,300 people.
About NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC
Based in Juno Beach, NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC, is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), which is the largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun in the world and the parent company of Florida Power & Light. For more information about NextEra Energy, visit: www.NextEraEnergy.com.
In addition to the lowered cost of generating clean solar power, there is another good reason for shifting toward solar, to avoid lawsuits of being blamed for cancer cluster, in the video “Lawsuit blames OUC for possible cancer cluster“, below:
To see some of earlier OUC solar projects, below:
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer joined City Commissioners to dedicate OUC’s new community solar farm in honor of General Manager and CEO Kenneth P. Ksionek, who is retiring after 32 years at OUC in February. With the addition of the new solar farm, the energy center now has an additional 37,544 solar panels capable of generating nearly 13 megawatts of energy per year—enough to power 2,100 homes. The solar output supports the City of Orlando’s goal for powering the city entirely with clean and renewable energy by 2050, in the video “OUC Kenneth P. Ksionek Community Solar Farm Dedication“, below:
June 27, 2017, EAST ORANGE COUNTY – Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on what is now the largest combined solar farm in Orange County and one of the most unique in the United States. 37,544 solar panels capable of generating nearly 13 megawatts of energy occupy a total of 24 acres, in the video “Aerial View of OUC Solar Farm in East Orange County“, below:
Orlando’s electric utility is building a small solar-energy plant that will float on a drainage pond, in the video “OUC installs floating solar panels to take advantage of water surface“, below:
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
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