Clean energy has become a new way of life for many companies, including here in South Florida and the Treasure Coast.
Florida Power & Light is four months away from leading the way once a new facility goes online.
The project, currently under construction in the heart of Okeechobee County, will produce green hydrogen to help offset natural gas and power up homes.
Called the Cavendish Nextgen Hydrogen Hub, the FPL plant is revolutionizing the industry, and there’s nothing like it in Florida.
“The chemical engineer in me loves this because I come in here, and I kind of light up,” Stevany Cole, who has been working with FPL for seven years, said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, valves and pipes.'”
Cole is FPL’s director of development, and this is one of her biggest projects.
“Seeing something that I’m familiar with and knowing that it’s just bettering the world for the future and the environment for the future really seals the deal for me,” Cole said.
The facility broke ground last October, equipment arrived earlier this summer and it’s set to begin producing green hydrogen for the first time in December. It will be powered by an incredible array of solar fields nearby.
“This is kind of the beginning to understanding the innovative technology coming out to help us understand our plan to transition to a cleaner decarbonized national grid,” Cole said.
America’s dependence on foreign oil shifted in the early 2000s to natural gas and now there is an industry-wide transition to carbon-free fuels.
The guts of the system in Okeechobee County generate hydrogen immediately.
It is a massive undertaking that will separate out hydrogen and send it a few hundred yards away to the Okeechobee Clean Energy Center, which came online in 2019 and powers 350,000 homes here in Florida.
Hydrogen produced will be blended into the natural gas at the center, creating a path for our future and generating the next wave of clean energy across the country beginning right here in our backyard.
“As a mom of three kids, I love it because I feel like I’m setting up a future for them, that they’re going to have a better world, better economy, better environment and a cleaner environment,” Cole said.