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News from Tallahassee for 12/8/13
Florida officials to host energy summit posted on 10/14/13
ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida officials are looking at energy needs and conservation in the Sunshine State.
The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is set to host academics, business leaders and energy company executives at a two-day energy summit beginning Monday in central Florida. Panels will discuss how Florida can boost its output of renewable energy to meet the state's growing needs. Officials will also examine how Florida's changing demographics affect energy usage and how the state is working to conserve water resources.
Florida's water problems are no longer regional posted on 10/14/13
by Aaron Deslatte | Orlando Sentinel
TALLAHASSEE — Florida has a quandary when it comes to drinking water: Go the relatively cheap and nonintrusive route to preserve enough high-quality stuff to drink, or wait until "big government" has to do it.
Intergovernmental squabbles and Florida's recent history of dealing with springs protection — such as requiring septic-tank inspections and then repealing them when homeowners complained — suggests Option 2 is on the horizon.
But it's not too late to avoid some of the worst ramifications of water shortfalls, and Florida's political leadership seems to be taking the problem seriously.
State environmental officials are already pursuing two basic tracks: "nonregulatory," focused on preserving water-recharge areas and developing alternative supplies, such as reused water; and "regulatory," which would make consumption permits to drain aquifers harder to get; toughen water-use restrictions — and raise costs for everything related to supplying a swelling, thirsty population.
"The water issues in Florida historically have been viewed as someone else's problems," Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam told a House natural-resources committee last week. "There is now not a single corner of the state that is not impacted by this."
FPL to bill customers $43.5M for nuclear costs posted on 10/2/13
by JIM SAUNDERS | NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
TALLAHASSEE - Florida Power & Light customers will pay nearly $43.5 million next year for nuclear-power projects, including $16.2 million for a plan to eventually build two new reactors in Miami-Dade County, state regulators decided Tuesday.
The project costs will have relatively little impact on customers' monthly bills. A residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month will pay about 46 cents.
But the costs are part of a broader debate about a 2006 law that has allowed FPL and Duke Energy Florida to collect money for nuclear projects that will not produce electricity for years — if ever.
The controversy has particularly focused on Duke, which in August announced that it would scrap plans to build two reactors in Levy County after the utility and its predecessor, Progress Energy Florida, collected hundreds of millions of dollars from customers.
FPL is the primary power provider in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties.
The $16.2 million approved Tuesday by the state Public Service Commission will go toward licensing, permitting and engineering for FPL's proposal to build reactors at its Turkey Point complex in Miami-Dade. The reactors would begin producing electricity in 2022 and 2023 and are ultimately projected to cost $12.7 billion to $18.5 billion.
Public Service Commission members said they think the project remains cost-effective, at least in part because nuclear reactors save money long-term on fuel expenses. Also, Commissioner Eduardo Balbis said Florida needs to diversify its energy supply, as the state has become increasingly reliant on natural gas to fuel power plants and as environmental constraints likely will prevent building coal-fired plants.
Fla. utility putting in solar power at schools posted on 10/2/13
JUNO BEACH, Fla. - Florida Power & Light is installing solar panels at nearly 100 schools across the state.
The state's largest utility announced Tuesday it is starting several solar power initiatives. One project calls for putting in panels at schools and science centers located in 23 counties.
FPL said that the electricity generated will be credited back on the school's electric meter to help reduce electric bills.
The company also said that it will be offering rebates to customers who plan to install solar water heating or solar panels.
FPL will pay out $9 million on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers can apply for rebates starting on Oct. 15.
Duke Energy seeks proposals to build new natural gas plant posted on 9/26/13
by Ivan Penn | Tampa Bay Times
Duke Energy plans to issue a request for proposals Oct. 8 for construction of a new natural gas plant in Citrus County to replace the power lost by its shuttered nuclear facility.
Proposals will compete with Duke Energy's option of building the new plant itself. The plant will be a highly efficient, combined-cycle, natural gas unit with 1,640 megawatts of capacity starting operation in 2018.
"We have a need for significant generating capacity in 2018, and through the RFP (request for proposals) process, we will be able to identify the most cost-effective, safe and reliable generation source for our customers," said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy's Florida president.
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