NASA And Florida Power & Light Build Solar Power Plants At Kennedy
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA and Florida Power & Light (FPL) are teaming up to provide Florida residents and America's space program with new sources of "green power."
NASA and the state's largest electric utility signed an agreement Tuesday at Florida Governor Charlie Crist's global climate change summit in Miami. The agreement is part of a new initiative that will cut reliance on fossil fuels and improve the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The agreement will permit FPL to lease 60 acres of NASA Kennedy Space Center's approximately 140,000 acres for a solar photovoltaic power generation system. The facility will produce an estimated 10 megawatts of electrical power, which is enough energy to serve roughly 3,000 homes. The solar power facility will be built and maintained by FPL.
As part of the agreement, FPL will build a separate one megawatt solar power facility at Kennedy that will support the electrical needs of the center. It will also help NASA meet its goals for use of power generated from renewable energy. In addition to generating electricity, the facility will provide an opportunity for NASA engineers and technicians to gain experience in energy production. It also may serve as a test bed for solar power technology that could be used on the surface of the moon and other planetary bodies.
"This is a major renewable energy project that will help both NASA and the state of Florida advance efforts to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and improve our environment through use of clean energy," said Kennedy Center Director Bill Parsons.
FPL refers to the large solar plant at Kennedy as the space coast facility. The company estimates the plant will prevent more than 227,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere during the life of the project. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, that is the equivalent of eliminating the emissions from more than 1,800 cars every year.
"This facility, the first cooperative solar effort with NASA, will help power the space coast event as it leaves a smaller carbon footprint here on Earth," said FPL Group CEO Lewis Hay III.
NASA and FPL managers signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2007 to explore developing renewable energy projects. Other concepts under consideration include using biomass for energy production and wind power generation. Details of the projects under consideration still are being formulated and will be evaluated before moving into development.
For information about Florida Power & Light and its programs, visit: http://www.fpl.com/
For more information about NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy
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