FPL's old Riviera Beach plant implodes to make way for a more energy-efficient one

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - For nearly 50 years the red-and-white smokestacks of FPL's Riviera Beach plant towered over the Intracoastal Waterway south of the Port of Palm Beach. But at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday they were imploded to make room for a more energy-efficient plant.

It took less than nine seconds for the two smokestacks, two boilers and a water tower to come down, leaving more than 18,000 tons of debris behind. The 300-foot smokestacks and adjacent boilers date to the early 1960s.

Maryland-based Controlled Demolition dismantled the old oil-fired power plant to make room for a $1.3 billion natural gas-fired Riviera Beach Next Generation Energy Center.

Rising on the 39-acre site will be FPL's new cleaner energy center that will be powered by natural gas. The plant will use 33 percent less fuel to produce the same amount of power; it also will sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, according to Chris Herron, project development manager at FPL.

Completion of the new plant is scheduled for 2014. The new smokestacks will stand 150 feet tall.