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FPL announces completion of Florida’s first ever clean hydrogen hub of its kind

on February 27, 2024 / by Nikki Cabus ,

Read Time 5 Minutes

FPL | Featured Stories and Press ReleasesEarlier this month, Florida Power & Light announced the completion of its clean hydrogen hub, the Cavendish NextGen Hydrogen Hub.

The Cavendish NextGen Hdrogen Hub is FPL’s pilot clean hydrogen facility located in Okeechobee County, Florida and the first clean hydrogen plant of its kind in the Sunshine State. This important pilot project will allow FPL to learn more about clean fuels and their potential benefits to customers.

Cavendish NextGen Hdrogen Hub while under construction in October 2023.

As America’s largest electric utility, Florida Power & Light serves more customers and sells more power than any other utility, providing clean, affordable, reliable electricity to approximately 5.9 million accounts, or more than 12 million people. FPL operates one of the most fuel efficient and cleanest power generation fleets in the U.S. and in 2022 won the ReliabilityOne® National Reliability Award for the seventh time in the last eight years. The company was also recognized by Escalent in 2022 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities for the ninth consecutive year.

FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, corporate responsibility, ethics and compliance, and diversity. NextEra Energy is ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune’s 2023 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies” and recognized on Fortune’s 2021 list of companies that “Change the World.” NextEra Energy is also the parent company of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a world leader in battery storage.

Armando Pimentel - President and Chief Executive Officer, FPL

Armando Pimentel

“Today marks another important step forward as we further our commitment to fostering a clean and cost-effective energy future that benefits our customers and Florida, ” said Armando Pimentel, FPL President and CEO.

The $65 million facility broke ground in December 2022, and just over a year later this “green energy” facility aims to significantly reduces carbon emissions while producing energy. FPL’s Cavendish NextGen Hydrogen Hub will help the company explore using clean hydrogen to offset the use of natural gas to run a traditional power plant. Built with state-of-the-art technology, the hydrogen hub pilot project draws from Florida’s most abundant natural resources – water and solar – to produce clean hydrogen.

a speaker addressing a seated group of people at an fpl site

FPL’s hydrogen hub breaks ground in December 2022.

The hydrogen hub draws solar power from a nearby FPL site. A portion of clean energy flows directly to the energy grid, while the rest powers hydrogen production equipment called electrolyzers. The hydrogen is then compressed, stored and blended with natural gas. For this project, a 5% blend of hydrogen will be tested in one of the three natural gas combustion turbines on site. Blending 5% hydrogen with natural gas will allow the company to learn more about clean hydrogen and explore ways to provide low-cost, clean energy to FPL’s customers.

Arif Sarwat - ADAM (AI)

Dr. Arif Sarwat

“Hydrogen is a ‘no brainer’ for Florida,” said Dr. Arif Sarwat, Eminent Scholar Chair Professor at Florida International University and Director of the FPL-FIU solar facility. “As the most abundant element on earth it can be stored as an energy source that can be used whether or not the sun is shining.”

As the FPL Cavendish Solar Energy Center operates, a portion of solar energy will flow directly to the grid to serve customers, while the rest will go to power hydrogen production equipment, including a series of electrolyzers. Each electrolyzer splits water into its two basic elements: hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is released harmlessly into the air, while the hydrogen will be compressed, stored and blended with natural gas, and used as fuel to produce electricity that will provide affordable and clean energy for FPL customers across the grid.

“We’ve been on a journey to cleaner and more cost-effective fuels, moving from oil to natural gas and now we’re exploring how to move from natural gas to carbon-free,” Stevany Cole, Director of Development at FPL, said, referring to FPL’s power plant modernizations over the last two decades which have effectively slashed air emissions and saved customers billions of dollars in avoided fuel costs.

Stevany Cole

Eight years ago, Cole transitioned from working at a papermill harvesting trees for consumer products to helping build a more resilient and cost-effective grid with FPL. Cole is proud to be part of something greater than herself.

“It’s always interesting looking back on where I started my career to now being here, making history in Florida. Eventually my generation will be gone. Then, my children will be the ones left with their own kids,” she said. “I can only hope to leave the planet a better place for them.”

Profile photo of Tim Oliver

Tim Oliver

“What we discover could eventually help us hedge against the volatility and cost of fuel,” said Tim Oliver, Vice President of Development at FPL. “This is about creating more options for affordable and clean electricity for Florida.”

The FPL Cavendish NextGen Hydrogen Hub will help the company maximize learning opportunities as it continues to pursue its Real Zero goal of decarbonizing its power-generation by 2045 at the latest. Watch the video below to find out how FPL is capturing the sun’s energy with millions of solar panels and advancing a first-of-its-kind clean hydrogen project to help stabilize energy costs, eliminate carbon emissions and make Florida energy independent.

FPL announces completion of Florida’s first ever clean hydrogen hub of its kind