Florida Power & Light (PLF) and Duke Energy Florida have reached an agreement that will keep the North Florida Resiliency Connection (NFRC) on track to begin serving customers in time for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.
As this year’s hurricane season prepares to begin on June 1, FPL announced Thursday that the agreement reached will keep NFRC on track to begin serving customers by the end of July. Spanning 176 miles of Colombia for jackson counties, the NFRC will physically connect FPL’s energy grid to Northwest Florida when construction is complete.
In addition to improving FPL’s daily reliability and storm response, the company noted that the transmission line unlocks approximately $1.5 billion in the benefits of the system following the consolidated operations of FPL and the former Gulf Power. Once online, FPL says it will be able to use the storm-resistant transmission line to ship the company’s generating fleet in North Florida.
“We are pleased to have resolved all outstanding concerns between FPL and Duke Energy Florida regarding the North Florida Resiliency Connection transmission line,” said FPL’s Chairman and CEO. Eric Silagy. “Forecasters are already predicting another season of active hurricanes and we know this new, state-of-the-art, storm-resistant transmission line will be an important tool in helping us restore power faster in the event of severe weather.”
Today’s announcement comes after FPL, Duke Energy Florida and Tampa Electric Co. on Monday filed proposals with the state Public Service Commission to strengthen underground power lines and “strengthen” other parts of electrical systems to reduce the threat of failure of trees and other vegetation.
FPL is seeking approval to raise a projected $369.9 million for the projects, while Duke is proposing nearly $142.8 million and Tampa Electric is proposing $53.55 million, according to filings. Almost all of the money would be for 2023 project costs, although relatively small amounts are tied to 2022 costs.
Researchers predict that the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season – which runs from June 1 to November 30 – will be very active, with a recent forecasts calling for nineteen named storms, with nine reaching hurricane status. Of the nine, four are expected to become a major hurricane.