JUNO BEACH, Fla. – Lone Star Transmission, LLC, a subsidiary of FPL Energy, LLC, today filed an application with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity to establish a new regulated utility business unit to construct, own and operate transmission facilities in Texas. If approved, the project will provide much needed power for the growing Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and other regions throughout Texas.
Under its plan, Lone Star Transmission will build, own and operate a 180-200 mile, high voltage, direct current, open access transmission line to bring renewable energy resources from West Texas to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Dubbed the “DFW Express,” the new transmission line would be constructed with a capacity of 2,000 megawatts and stretch from near Abilene to the Dallas/Fort Worth load center.
“Our proposal to build the DFW Express will enhance the ability to transmit power from West to North Texas and enable continued large-scale development of emission-free wind power in West Texas,” said Mitch Davidson, president of FPL Energy. “The DFW Express proposal will help serve the growing energy needs in the Dallas/Fort Worth load center, while at the same time, minimizing the existing transmission congestion between the regions.”
Texas State Senator Troy Fraser said, “I have long supported the building of transmission and new generation in West Texas, and the DFW Express is a critical first step in ensuring that the state will meet its long-term power needs. I am particularly pleased that FPL Energy is proposing to utilize this innovative technology which will bring more clean, affordable power directly from West Texas to the Dallas/Fort Worth area while maximizing efficiency and minimizing the impact of transmission lines on landowners.”
Texas State Representative Susan King said, “Texans need new, clean power generation resources to meet growing energy demand, and West Texas is an ideal area for growth. The DFW Express proposal, if approved by the Texas PUC, positions West Texas for significant economic development from clean and renewable wind power. The project will create new jobs and add hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure in the region.”
Texas State Representative Marc Veasey said, “The DFW Express proposal, if approved, will bring the Dallas/Fort Worth area significant amounts of emission-free power, thereby enhancing air quality in the region. Although wind power and the DFW Express proposal cannot solve all of our power generation and air quality issues, it can certainly be part of the solution. In addition to the obvious environmental benefits this project will bring, it will also generate a significant amount of new tax revenues for our schools.”
Opening up West Texas to continued wind development through the proposed DFW Express will lead to billions of dollars in capital investments and significant economic development activity throughout the region. In addition, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas will benefit from thousands of additional megawatts of generation capacity. Wind farms can be constructed in a much shorter timeframe than traditional fossil or solid fuel plants, and wind farms have no negative impacts to air or water quality.
High voltage direct current technology offers a number of benefits over high voltage alternating current technology including:
- The power flow is controllable – power is injected when needed;
- Congestion of the existing West Texas 69 kV, 138 kV and 345 kV systems is bypassed; and
- More power will be delivered with fewer, less expensive lines utilizing a much narrower land corridor than a comparable alternating current structure carrying equivalent energy.
The cost of the DFW Express is expected to be in the range of $635 million to $655 million, and Lone Star Transmission believes the transmission line can be constructed in less than three years from the date a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the facility is approved by the Texas PUC.
Lone Star Transmission submitted the DFW Express proposal for consideration after reviewing transmission proposals put forth by other parties in the CREZ docket such as the Panhandle Loop Interveners and Electric Transmission Texas.
“The DFW Express proposal is not only innovative in its approach but also flexible enough to compliment the other transmission proposals or work as a stand-alone project,” said Davidson. “The interest shown by FPL Energy and numerous parties to construct transmission facilities in Texas will benefit Texas ratepayers by introducing competition among the various proposals to provide the most cost-effective regional transmission solution.”
With more than 70,000 miles of transmission and distribution facilities in Florida, California and the Northeast, FPL Energy and its affiliated companies have extensive experience and expertise in this field.
FPL Energy, through its subsidiaries, invested nearly $1 billion in Texas in 2006 and currently has 11 wind farms in operation in the state. With a net capacity of more than 1,600 megawatts, the wind plants are capable of generating electricity for more than 400,000 Texas homes. In 2006, the wind farms offset fossil-fueled power generation emissions totaling more than 2.3 million tons of carbon dioxide; more than 5,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and over 2,000 tons of nitrogen oxide that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere if not for the wind farms.
FPL Energy is a leading competitive energy supplier utilizing clean fuels such as natural gas, wind, solar, hydroelectric and nuclear to generate electricity. It is the nation’s leader in wind energy, with 49 wind facilities in operation in 15 states. It is a subsidiary of FPL Group, (NYSE: FPL) one of the nation's largest providers of electricity-related services with annual revenues of nearly $16 billion. FPL Group's principal subsidiary is Florida Power & Light Company, one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving 4.4 million customer accounts in Florida. Additional information is available at www.FPLEnergy.com, www.FPLGroup.com and www.FPL.com
Cautionary Statements And Risk Factors That May Affect Future Results
In connection with the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (Reform Act), FPL Group, Inc. (FPL Group) and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) are hereby providing cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause FPL Group's or FPL's actual results to differ materially from those projected in forward-looking statements (as such term is defined in the Reform Act) made by or on behalf of FPL Group and FPL in this press release, on their respective websites, in response to questions or otherwise. Any statements that express, or involve discussions as to, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, through the use of words or phrases such as will likely result, are expected to, will continue, is anticipated, believe, could, estimated, may, plan, potential, projection, target, outlook) are not statements of historical facts and may be forward-looking. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions and uncertainties. Accordingly, any such statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to, and are accompanied by, the following important factors (in addition to any assumptions and other factors referred to specifically in connection with such forward-looking statements) that could cause FPL Group's or FPL's actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of FPL Group and FPL.
Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and FPL Group and FPL undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances, including unanticipated events, after the date on which such statement is made. New factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for management to predict all of such factors, nor can it assess the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.
The following are some important factors that could have a significant impact on FPL Group's and FPL's operations and financial results, and could cause FPL Group's and FPL's actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements:
FPL Group and FPL are subject to complex laws and regulations and to changes in laws and regulations as well as changing governmental policies and regulatory actions, including initiatives regarding deregulation and restructuring of the energy industry and environmental matters. FPL holds franchise agreements with local municipalities and counties, and must renegotiate expiring agreements. These factors may have a negative impact on the business and results of operations of FPL Group and FPL.
- FPL Group and FPL are subject to complex laws and regulations, and to changes in laws or regulations, including the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, as amended, the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005, the Federal Power Act, the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (2005 Energy Act) and certain sections of the Florida statutes relating to public utilities, changing governmental policies and regulatory actions, including those of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) and the legislatures and utility commissions of other states in which FPL Group has operations, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), with respect to, among other things, allowed rates of return, industry and rate structure, operation of nuclear power facilities, operation and construction of plant facilities, operation and construction of transmission facilities, acquisition, disposal, depreciation and amortization of assets and facilities, recovery of fuel and purchased power costs, decommissioning costs, return on common equity and equity ratio limits, and present or prospective wholesale and retail competition (including but not limited to retail wheeling and transmission costs). The FPSC has the authority to disallow recovery by FPL of any and all costs that it considers excessive or imprudently incurred. The regulatory process generally restricts FPL's ability to grow earnings and does not provide any assurance as to achievement of earnings levels.
- FPL Group and FPL are subject to extensive federal, state and local environmental statutes as well as the effect of changes in or additions to applicable statutes, rules and regulations relating to air quality, water quality, climate change, waste management, wildlife mortality, natural resources and health and safety that could, among other things, restrict or limit the output of certain facilities or the use of certain fuels required for the production of electricity and/or require additional pollution control equipment and otherwise increase costs. There are significant capital, operating and other costs associated with compliance with these environmental statutes, rules and regulations, and those costs could be even more significant in the future.
- FPL Group and FPL operate in a changing market environment influenced by various legislative and regulatory initiatives regarding deregulation, regulation or restructuring of the energy industry, including deregulation or restructuring of the production and sale of electricity. FPL Group and its subsidiaries will need to adapt to these changes and may face increasing competitive pressure.
- FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations could be affected by FPL's ability to renegotiate franchise agreements with municipalities and counties in Florida.
The operation and maintenance of power generation facilities, including nuclear facilities, involve significant risks that could adversely affect the results of operations and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL.
- The operation and maintenance of power generation facilities involve many risks, including, but not limited to, start up risks, breakdown or failure of equipment, transmission lines or pipelines, the inability to properly manage or mitigate known equipment defects throughout our generation fleets unless and until such defects are remediated, use of new technology, the dependence on a specific fuel source, including the supply and transportation of fuel, or the impact of unusual or adverse weather conditions (including natural disasters such as hurricanes), as well as the risk of performance below expected or contracted levels of output or efficiency. This could result in lost revenues and/or increased expenses, including, but not limited to, the requirement to purchase power in the market at potentially higher prices to meet contractual obligations. Insurance, warranties or performance guarantees may not cover any or all of the lost revenues or increased expenses, including the cost of replacement power. In addition to these risks, FPL Group's and FPL's nuclear units face certain risks that are unique to the nuclear industry including, but not limited to, the ability to store and/or dispose of spent nuclear fuel and the potential payment of significant retrospective insurance premiums, as well as additional regulatory actions up to and including shutdown of the units stemming from public safety concerns, whether at FPL Group's and FPL's plants, or at the plants of other nuclear operators. Breakdown or failure of an operating facility of FPL Energy may prevent the facility from performing under applicable power sales agreements which, in certain situations, could result in termination of the agreement or incurring a liability for liquidated damages.
The construction of, and capital improvements to, power generation facilities involve substantial risks. Should construction or capital improvement efforts be unsuccessful, the results of operations and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL could be adversely affected.
- FPL Group's and FPL's ability to successfully and timely complete their power generation facilities currently under construction, those projects yet to begin construction or capital improvements to existing facilities within established budgets is contingent upon many variables and subject to substantial risks. Should any such efforts be unsuccessful, FPL Group and FPL could be subject to additional costs, termination payments under committed contracts, and/or the write-off of their investment in the project or improvement
The use of derivative contracts by FPL Group and FPL in the normal course of business could result in financial losses that negatively impact the results of operations of FPL Group and FPL.
- FPL Group and FPL use derivative instruments, such as swaps, options and forwards to manage their commodity and financial market risks. FPL Group provides full energy and capacity requirements services and engages in trading activities. FPL Group could recognize financial losses as a result of volatility in the market values of these contracts, or if a counterparty fails to perform. In the absence of actively quoted market prices and pricing information from external sources, the valuation of these derivative instruments involves management's judgment or use of estimates. As a result, changes in the underlying assumptions or use of alternative valuation methods could affect the reported fair value of these contracts. In addition, FPL's use of such instruments could be subject to prudency challenges and if found imprudent, cost recovery could be disallowed by the FPSC.
FPL Group's competitive energy business is subject to risks, many of which are beyond the control of FPL Group, that may reduce the revenues and adversely impact the results of operations and financial condition of FPL Group.
There are other risks associated with FPL Group's competitive energy business. In addition to risks discussed elsewhere, risk factors specifically affecting FPL Energy's success in competitive wholesale markets include the ability to efficiently develop and operate generating assets, the successful and timely completion of project restructuring activities, maintenance of the qualifying facility status of certain projects, the price and supply of fuel (including transportation), transmission constraints, competition from new sources of generation, excess generation capacity and demand for power. There can be significant volatility in market prices for fuel and electricity, and there are other financial, counterparty and market risks that are beyond the control of FPL Energy. FPL Energy's inability or failure to effectively hedge its assets or positions against changes in commodity prices, interest rates, counterparty credit risk or other risk measures could significantly impair FPL Group's future financial results. In keeping with industry trends, a portion of FPL Energy's power generation facilities operate wholly or partially without long-term power purchase agreements. As a result, power from these facilities is sold on the spot market or on a short-term contractual basis, which may affect the volatility of FPL Group's financial results. In addition, FPL Energy's business depends upon transmission facilities owned and operated by others; if transmission is disrupted or capacity is inadequate or unavailable, FPL Energy's ability to sell and deliver its wholesale power may be limited.
FPL Group's ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate acquisitions is subject to significant risks, including the effect of increased competition for acquisitions resulting from the consolidation of the power industry.
- FPL Group is likely to encounter significant competition for acquisition opportunities that may become available as a result of the consolidation of the power industry, in general, as well as the passage of the 2005 Energy Act. In addition, FPL Group may be unable to identify attractive acquisition opportunities at favorable prices and to successfully and timely complete and integrate them.
Because FPL Group and FPL rely on access to capital markets, the inability to maintain current credit ratings and access capital markets on favorable terms may limit the ability of FPL Group and FPL to grow their businesses and would likely increase interest costs.
- FPL Group and FPL rely on access to capital markets as a significant source of liquidity for capital requirements not satisfied by operating cash flows. The inability of FPL Group, FPL Group Capital Inc and FPL to maintain their current credit ratings could affect their ability to raise capital on favorable terms, particularly during times of uncertainty in the capital markets, which, in turn, could impact FPL Group's and FPL's ability to grow their businesses and would likely increase their interest costs.
Customer growth in FPL's service area affects FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations.
- FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations are affected by the growth in customer accounts in FPL's service area. Customer growth can be affected by population growth as well as economic factors in Florida, including job and income growth, housing starts and new home prices. Customer growth directly influences the demand for electricity and the need for additional power generation and power delivery facilities at FPL.
Weather affects FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations.
- FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations are affected by changes in the weather. Weather conditions directly influence the demand for electricity and natural gas and affect the price of energy commodities, and can affect the production of electricity at wind and hydro-powered facilities. FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations can be affected by the impact of severe weather which can be destructive, causing outages and/or property damage, may affect fuel supply, and could require additional costs to be incurred. At FPL, recovery of these costs is subject to FPSC approval.
FPL Group and FPL are subject to costs and other effects of legal proceedings as well as changes in or additions to applicable tax laws, rates or policies, rates of inflation, accounting standards, securities laws and corporate governance requirements.
- FPL Group and FPL are subject to costs and other effects of legal and administrative proceedings, settlements, investigations and claims, as well as the effect of new, or changes in, tax laws, rates or policies, rates of inflation, accounting standards, securities laws and corporate governance requirements.
Threats of terrorism and catastrophic events that could result from terrorism may impact the operations of FPL Group and FPL in unpredictable ways.
- FPL Group and FPL are subject to direct and indirect effects of terrorist threats and activities. Generation and transmission facilities, in general, have been identified as potential targets. The effects of terrorist threats and activities include, among other things, terrorist actions or responses to such actions or threats, the inability to generate, purchase or transmit power, the risk of a significant slowdown in growth or a decline in the U.S. economy, delay in economic recovery in the U.S., and the increased cost and adequacy of security and insurance.
The ability of FPL Group and FPL to obtain insurance and the terms of any available insurance coverage could be affected by national, state or local events and company-specific events.
- FPL Group's and FPL's ability to obtain insurance, and the cost of and coverage provided by such insurance, could be affected by national, state or local events as well as company-specific events.
FPL Group and FPL are subject to employee workforce factors that could affect the businesses and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL.
- FPL Group and FPL are subject to employee workforce factors, including loss or retirement of key executives, availability of qualified personnel, collective bargaining agreements with union employees and work stoppage that could affect the businesses and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL.
The risks described herein are not the only risks facing FPL Group and FPL. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to FPL Group or FPL, or that are currently deemed to be immaterial, also may materially adversely affect FPL Group's or FPL's business, financial condition and/or future operating results.