PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. -

Demolition crews begun tearing down the half century old Florida Power & Light plant at Port Everglades.

The big, blue structure and its candy striped smoke stacks will be replaced with a state of the art, high efficiency power generating facility.

"It's important for our customers to realize that we're constantly pushing the envelope to provide a better service for them," said FPL spokesman Richard Gibbs.

READ: Port Everglades fact sheet

Florida Power & Light is fronting the $1 billion price tag for the new natural gas burning facility, which the company said will be 35 percent more fuel efficient and give off 90 percent fewer emissions. That's why the landmark smoke stacks will be imploded later this summer.

"You will have smoke stacks but they'll be smaller," Gibbs said.

FPL said the new plant will use combined-cycle technology, which is a more efficient way to process the natural gas the plant will use to make electricity.

This facility feeds power to about 260,000 homes and businesses. Customers will see an increase in their base rates when the new plant comes on line in 2016 to repay FPL for the capital investment, but the company says over the 30 year life of the plant, the reduction in fuel charges will results in a net savings of $400 million dollars for customers.

Timeline

  • Plant came offline: February 2013
  • Pre-demolition activities: now until July 2013
  • Demolition: July 2013 – Exact date is TBD
  • Construction starts: First quarter of 2014
  • Plant becomes operational and comes online: June 2016