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December 2, 2008


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INDIANTOWN - Governor Charlie Crist and Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp today, continuing their commitment to using alternative and renewable energy sources for the Sunshine State, celebrated the groundbreaking of the world's first hybrid solar plant. Florida Power & Light's Next Generation Solar Energy Center is the first large-scale solar facility in the state and is expected to be fully operational by 2010.

"Florida's future growth and economic strength depends on how we address climate change, and we know we can reduce greenhouse gases by using fewer fossil fuels and more natural energy sources like solar," said Governor Crist. "This solar facility is a significant step in that direction."

Governor Charlie Crist has made clean energy and protecting Florida's environment a priority since taking office, and FPL's new 75-megawatt facility in Martin County marks an important step toward using more sun to power the Sunshine State. As the first hybrid solar facility in the world to combine a solar-thermal field with a combined-cycle natural gas power plant, the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center will use less fossil fuel when heat from the sun is available to help produce the steam needed to generate electricity.

The technology will help protect customers from fluctuating fossil fuel costs as it reduces Florida's carbon footprint. The solar facility will consist of approximately 180,000 mirrors over roughly 500 acres of land at the existing FPL Martin Plant location. When fully operational, it will provide enough power to serve about 11,000 homes. Over 30 years, the solar facility will prevent the emissions of more than 2.75 million tons of greenhouse gases, which is the equivalent of removing more than 18,700 cars from the road every year for the life of the project, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The implementation of solar thermal technology will also decrease fossil-fuel usage by approximately 41 billion cubic feet of natural gas and more than 600,000 barrels of oil.

"The Governor and I want to commend FPL for being a leader in the use of solar energy as the world's No. 1 producer of solar thermal energy and one of the largest generators of wind power," said Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp. "We believe there is no better place than here, in the Sunshine State, to lead the way in expanding solar technology to homes and businesses."

The facility will be the nation's second-largest solar energy facility when it is fully operational in 2010. The Martin facility is the largest of three solar projects FPL is building in Florida. With a combined total of 110 megawatts of emissions-free energy, the facilities will make Florida the No. 2 producer of solar energy nationwide and will avoid nearly 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide over the lives of the plants.

"The next generation of Floridians is counting on us to address the most pressing energy challenges of our time," said FPL Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lew Hay. "At this innovative facility, each sunrise will be the equivalent of easing our foot off the gas pedal as solar power is being produced. With the continued support of Governor Crist, the Florida Legislature and the Public Service Commission, FPL will do more - much more - in the coming years to build Florida's renewable energy industry."