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FPL To Buy, Close Coal-Fired Plant

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Pointing to what it says will be long-term savings for customers, Florida Power & Light said Friday it is seeking to buy a coal-fired power plant in Jacksonville --- and then shut down the plant within two to three years. 

FPL, which is asking for approval from the Florida Public Service Commission, entered into a long-term contract in 1988 to purchase power from the Cedar Bay Generating Plant. But the utility said in a news release that it can now generate electricity at a "much lower cost" than what the contract requires it to pay. 

  As a result, FPL said it plans to spend $520.5 million to buy CBAS Power Inc., which it describes as the "indirect owner of the plant," from CBAS Power Holdings LLC. FPL then would end the purchased-power contract and reduce the plant's operations by 90 percent before ultimately shutting it down. It estimated that the plan eventually could save customers about $70 million. 

"Although years ago it made sense to buy this plant's power to serve our customers, times have changed,'' Eric Silagy, FPL's president and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement. 

"We have invested billions of dollars to improve the efficiency of our system, reduce our fuel consumption, prevent emissions and cut costs for our customers. Now we're in a position to take ownership of the facility and effectively buy out an outmoded contract with the goal of ultimately phasing the plant out of service, which will mean reduced carbon emissions and millions of dollars in savings for our customers."

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