Tuesday, March 31, 2009

After heated debate, "clean" energy bill moves out of Senate committee

This morning SB 1154 moved out of the Florida Senate's Communications, Energy and Public Utilities committee "after heated debate," reports the Sun-Sentinel's Julie Patel on the "House Keys" blog.

If the Bill makes it into law it would require 20 percent of Florida's power to be "clean" energy by 2020 -- though nuclear energy would be allowed to constitute a full 25% of that quota, with 50% coming from wind and solar and an additional 25% from biomass and other renewables.

As Patel writes, "FPL has said it supports including new nuclear power to help curb costs and promote fuel diversity."

You bet! And, hey, the bill includes language that would authorize a "Go Green Florida" license plate, to boot!

Read Julie Patel's full blog post on SB 1154, here.

FPL, solar and RECs: higher costs, fewer jobs and less clean energy for consumers

Interesting story last week in the Sarasota Herald Tribune outlines the battle over solar energy looming between big power companies like FPL and consumers, as the legislature is poised to pass a new energy law requiring power companies to generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

The story, by Zac Anderson, points out that State legislators are favoring the system known as renewable energy credits, or RECS, which some business groups and environmentalists believe "would give windfall profits to large energy companies, cost consumers more and generate fewer local jobs and less clean energy."

The REC system would ...
... allow utilities to decide who can sell them solar energy based on a bidding process, resulting primarily in large, centralized solar developments. Opponents of the REC system say an alternative program, called a "feed-in tariff," encourages more small-scale solar development on homes and businesses by setting a price for solar energy that makes it profitable for anyone with open land or roof space. The system also forces electric utilities to buy energy from everyone.
And where does FPL fit in this story? The paper writes:
Florida Power & Light, the state's largest energy provider, criticizes feed-in tariffs as expensive and anti-competitive. So do representatives for large solar companies such as Maryland-based SunEdison, which has begun contracting with utilities to build big solar power plants in Florida. The deals have stirred intense infighting in the solar industry nationwide as small local businesses are pushed aside by larger corporations. Dismissing the Renewable Energy Lab's conclusions, FPL's vice president and chief development officer, Eric Silagy, said, "Any time you get into prescriptive government-set rates, you chill innovation."
And, why would FPL and other energy giants favor RECs? Take a guess ...
The REC system has resulted in substantially higher energy profits in places like New Jersey and the United Kingdom and much higher electricity prices for consumers than the more simplified feed-in tariff policy.
Read the full Sarasota Herald-Tribune story online, here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Nuclear would get 25% of all new "clean energy" under Florida Senate bill

The Florida Senate's energy and utilities committee is set to hear first thing Tuesday morning Senate Bill 1154, which would define nuclear power as "clean energy" and allow for a full 25% of all new "clean energy" generated in the State to come from nuclear power.

The St. Pete Times reports today that only half of new clean energy in the State as defined by the Senate bill would actually come from wind and solar, with another 25% from biomass, solid waste and other renewables.

The Times' staff says that "lobbyists for companies including Gulf Power and FPL hurried to the Capitol this morning to dissect the committee's just-released proposal for new "clean energy" standards in Florida." FPL and Progress Florida each have nuclear plant proposals under consideration by the Florida Public Service Commission.

The Times also says that no Florida House bill has yet been filed and that House members are waiting to see what happens with the Senate bill.

Track SB 1154's progress, here.

Read the full text of SB 1154, here.

Read the story at the St. Pete Times "The Buzz" Florida Politics blog, here.

Environmentalists concerned over FPL's planned expansion of Turkey Point

The Miami Herald reported Sunday that environmental groups concerned over saltwater intrusion into the Biscayne Bay estuary point to FPL's planned expansion of its Turkey Point power plant as one of the projects of most concern.

According to the Herald report:
Florida Power and Light's planned expansion of the Turkey Point nuclear facility also threatens the fresh water supply of many [commercially important fish species], warned Dawn Shirreffs, a Clean Water Action organizer.

The saltwater ''intrusion line,'' which marks how far west that water has crept, is moving between 300 and 400 feet inland every year, she said.

FPL spokesman Michael Waldron said in an e-mail that saltwater intrusion existed several miles inland from the site decades before the plant was built in the early 1970s and that the utility is ``working closely with a number of state, county and regional agencies to monitor the current conditions of the cooling canal system.''

However, Shirreffs said that FPL's plan to dig for fill materials in agriculturally zoned land close to Biscayne National Park could make the situation worse.

Digging the holes at all could pull the intrusion even further inland, [Tropical Audubon Society's Laura] Reynolds said.

''When you dig holes that close to the coast you change the hydrology,'' she added. ``Digging pits pulls water in from other locations because limestone is very porous.''

Environmentalists also believe that the canals which circulate water to cool the existing plant at Turkey Point are making the problem worse. ''FPL says it's a closed system, but it isn't, it leaks,'' said Biscayne National Park resource manager Elsa Alvear.

That water is very salty and dense, blocking the eastward flow of freshwater from inland, Alvear said. She added that water collection wells planned for the plant's expansion would suck up any freshwater used to rehydrate south Miami-Dade's coast, canceling out its intended benefits.
Read the full Miami Herald story online, here.

Palm Beach Post readers weigh in on FPL base rate hike

Palm Beach Post readers weigh in on FPL base rate hike:
Reality check for FPL; fuel prices won't be dropping ...

When oil goes back up, so will bills ...

Public counsel should block increase ...
Read the letters to the editor of the Palm Beach Post, here.

More on FPL no-show at Turkey Point meeting: Miami Herald

The Miami Herald ran a story Sunday in it's Pinecrest-Bays neighbors section on FPL's "no show" at last Thursday's public meeting in Cutler Bay, convened by Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorensen.

The Herald confirmed Stop FPL's assessment that it was a "standing room only" crowd -- WPLG-Local 10 TV's undercount of 50 a real disservice to the amount of concern and level of mobilization by residents and civic leaders in neighboring communities clearly evident at the meeting.

Curious that the Herald continues to choose to place all news related to citizen concern over Turkey Point and the related transmission lines that would run through multiple south Miami-Dade communities in the limited circulation, zoned "Neighbors" sections of the paper.

Community news does generate greater interest mong readers these days, but many people still read the paper in the print edition and therefore anybody not in the Pinecrest/Bays circulation area would have missed this story. You would think that because this story touches so many communities, the Herald editors would go ahead and place it in the "Metro" section of the paper.

But, lots of strains on the Herald newsroom these days, so who knows what's driving their coverage decisions. At least they covered it ...

Read the story in full online, here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March 28: Three Mile Island and Earth Hour

Today, March 28th, marks both the 30th anniversay of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident and the third anniversary of Earth Hour.

Quite a coincidence ...

Friday, March 27, 2009

FPL backs out of Turkey Point nuclear safety meeting

Florida Power & Light representatives failed to show last night at the South Dade Government Center to discuss nuclear safety at the Turkey Point power plant.

That, to the surprise of none of those present, as word had already circulated among the citizens and residents of Miami-Dade County who turned up in order to share their concerns at the public meeting called by Commissioner Katy Sorensen (District 8).

WFOR-CBS4's Natalia Zea was on hand to cover the meeting and the station aired a report in its 11 pm nightly newscast, complete with comments by Sorensen about the "arrogance" of FPL in not showing up and a written response from FPL on its reasoning for not sending a representative:

View the full video online at CBS4, here.

WPLG-Local 10 also covered the meeting, though their nightly news report estimate of 50 attendees falls short of the nearly 100 in Stop FPL's head-count of the packed meeting room:

View the full WPLG-10 video online, here.

Those who did show up ranged from environmentalists and neighbors living in the shadow of Turkey Point concerned about recent reports of safety breaches at the plant, to leaders and residents of nearby communities concerned about high-voltage transmission lines from the Turkey Point 6 & 7 reactors running along US 1. But, the empty chairs at the front of the meeting hall clearly showed that FPL feels it has no need to address such concerns face to face with its customers.

Sorenensen had cautioned in a letter to the Miami Herald on Thursday that FPL might well be a no-show, but still urged the utility to send representatives to the meeting to explain recent reports of safety breaches at the plant.

Miami New Times' Tim Elfrink posted at the Riptide 2.0 blog late in the afternoon on FPL's expected no-show and like CBS4 shared the lame excuse from FPL for not engaging with its customers on their Turkey Point safety concerns in the form of a carefully prepared text.

Likewise, blogger Jorge Lune also contacted FPL and was treated with a similar written response from the company.

While FPL may think it can get away with not responding to a meeting request from a County Commissioner and its customers, it may not have it so easy in April when it will have to appear before a public meeting convened by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on April 23rd.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Turkey Points ... new artist's graphic from the creators of "When the Turkey Points at You!"

This just in from the creators of When the Turkey Points at You!

Hmmmm ... what's that Turkey blowin' out it's tailfeathers? And, is that FPL in the Caterpillar trying to 'doze public opposition?

We'll add this one to our list of Stop FPL Favorite Cartoons ...

p.s. something strange happened to the original colors in the upload ... will try to figure it out and repost if we do!

Sorensen tells FPL: Address Turkey Point concerns

In a letter to the Miami Herald this morning, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorensen (District 8) said that FPL officials "prefer not to attend" tonight's scheduled meeting to discuss safety concerns involving the nuclear reactor at the Turkey Point power generating station.

Follows is the text of Commissioner Sorensen's letter, as published in the Herald:
After reading the disturbing story on the front page of The Miami Herald (Papers reveal nuclear discord, March 12) regarding the safety and performance of the Turkey Point nuclear reactor and receiving several calls from residents, I decided to organize a meeting so that elected officials and residents could openly discuss these concerns and FPL officials could address them. While the power company officials are willing to respond through letters to the editor to the concerns raised, they have made it clear to me that they would prefer not to attend the meeting I have scheduled.

As FPL seeks to expand its nuclear facilities and raise customer rates to support this work, I believe it is incumbent on the company, a utility that serves almost all Miami-Dade County residents, to be responsive to questions and concerns.

I hope that FPL officials do the right thing and attend the meeting at the South Dade Government Center tonight, March 26, at 6:30 p.m.

KATY SORENSON, county commissioner, District 8, Miami
We, too, hope FPL will do the right thing and attend this meeting to explain to citizens and residents what it is doing to improve the safety and security at Turkey Point, especially in the face of plans to add two more reactors 6 & 7 at great expense to its customers in the coming years.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Here's your chance to tell your elected and appointed local, state and federal officials that you do NOT want FPL's Turkey Point reactors 6 & 7 to be licensed and built ...

Click here to sign the online petition now ...


Click to sign the petition online now at ipetitions.com ...

Stop FPL Group now at Facebook

Hey, it's time to crank the party up a notch and move it into the social networking realm ...

Join the new "Stop FPL" group at Facebook! I mean, hey, if you don't want to have some fun, you can't be in this Stop FPL revolution (to paraphrase our dear ol' Ma, Mary Harris Jones). Just click below to join:
Hosted by none other than your Commander-in-Chieftess ...

Yours truly,

I.K. Pararefepele

And what do we do with Turkey Point when sea level rises?

You gotta love that gimleteye, for pointing out the obvious in today's post over at Eye on Miami:
Completely lost in the discussion of Florida Power and Light's bum-rush to build two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, costing rate payers more than $18 billion, is what happens in the course of events if sea level rise occurs rapidly and requires the decommissioning of the power plant.

Competing FL Senate bills signal battle over "clean" vs "renewable energy"

The Tampa Tribune reports today on the battle lines being drawn in the State Legislature over the definition of "clean" energy versus truly "renewable" energy sources.

Sen. Lee Constantine (R-Altamonte Springs) has introduced "Senate Bill 2490, a measure requiring that 20 percent of the power provided by Florida electric utilities be made with renewable resources such as wind and solar," the paper reports.

That bill is now up against "SB 2328, that would require utilities to get 20 percent of their power from 'clean' energy sources, including nuclear, by 2020," introduced by Sen. Charlie Dean (R-Inverness).

Dean's bill supports the efforts of FPL and others to have "nuclear" defined as clean energy within the parameters set by Gov. Christ for taking Florida "green" by 2020. The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has already rejected that definition, but it appears that nuclear-friendly lawmakers are now trying to legislate the definition in Tallahassee.

According to the Trib, "nuclear power accounts for 18 percent of the electricity produced by Progress Energy. FPL produces about 19 percent of its power from nuclear plants."

The Tampa Tribune story can be read online, here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nuclear Regulatory Commission to hold Turkey Point 6 & 7 hearing in Homestead in April

Miami-Dade County residents will have a chance to speak their mind at the public meeting convened by County Commissioner Katy Sorensen this Thursday, March 26th at 6:30 PM at the South Miami-Dade Government Center, 10710 SW 211 Street, Room 203, Cutler Bay.

But, that won't be the end of it ... EyeOnMiami has informed that there will be an additional opportunity for the public to participate in a discussion of the role of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission "in eventual review of FP&L's application for Turkey Point Unit 6 & 7 combined license including details of safety and environmental reviews."

That meeting will take place from 6-9pm on Thursday April 23rd in the "Palm Room" of the Keys Gate Golf Club, located at 2300 Palm Drive, Homestead, FL.

This is a potentially VERY important meeting, given the fact that a three-judge panel of the NRC recently put on hold plans to build two new nuclear reactors at a Georgia plant, ruling that the application to build the reactors was incomplete because it had not taken into adequate consideration management of radioactive nuclear waste when the new reactors begin operation.

According to a notice in the NRC's public meeting schedule, participating on behalf of the NRC will be representatives of their Office of New Reactors, from the Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response, Region II. The general public is also invited to participate.

Another Brilliant FPL Cartoon: Courtesy of Jim Morin, The Miami Herald

Another brilliant FPL cartoon in today's Miami Herald, courtesy of Jim Morin, showing two FPL "suits" and their out of work victim. In clear reference to the requested FPL base rate hike, the caption on the cartoon reads:

ZNet article on Palm Beach activists jailed for protecting environment against FPL power plant

Very well-researched and thoughtful piece yesterday by Howard Lisnoff at ZNet, titled Jailed Activists Seek to Free Enslaved Environment, about the West County Energy Center (WCEC) in Palm Beach and the arrest and trial of the environmental activists who've tried to stop it.

As Lisnoff points out:
The [WCEC] power plant being built by Florida Power & Light will release 12.3 tons of carbon dioxide a year into an atmosphere already drenched and laden with global greenhouse gasses, and inject an astounding 13.5 million gallons of contaminated cooling water a day "into underground aquifers and allow it to seep into water bodies," according to Dr. Sydney Bacchus, a hydroecologist, who testified in defense of the protesters at their trial.
Lisnoff reviews the trial proceedings, interviews scientists and jailed activists Panagioti Tsolkas and Lynne Purvis in this well-researched piece, concluding among other things that:
In February 2008, scores of protesters momentarily stopped the construction of what soon will be one of the largest fossil-fuel burning plants in the U.S. They faced the power of an industry entrenched in the political establishment of Florida that can purchase enough lobbying muscle to do just about anything it wants done. These protesters faced jail time and a huge fine levied against them for acting out of moral courage in pursuit of the greater good. They faced a hostile judge and prosecutor who belittled the environmental alarm that is so apparent in South Florida. A huge amount of good science was thrown out of the courtroom in return for what was convenient and expedient for the purpose of supporting a major industry player in Florida Power & Light.
The full article at ZNet by Howard Lisnoff is available online, here.

For all those who care about our natural environment and what a giant energy utility can do to harm it if left unchecked, this piece is more than well-worth the read ...

Reject FPL hike, says Bradenton Herald: "Rate request excessive in recession"

The Bradenton Herald today joined in the call to reject FPL's outrageous request for a base-rate hike, publishing an editorial that calls the rate request "excessive," particularly in the midst of an economic recession:

We’ve got to admire the chutzpah radiated by Florida Power & Light.

Their creative-writing division came up with a classic snow job in an appeal to our environmental sensibilities. The key subject of the press release concerned rates, but not until deep in this writing exercise did that reality set in.

The editorial goes on to explain why the rate request is beyond the pale, saying in conclusion that:

We’re not falling for FPL’s smooth line. The utility will get a hearing before the commission in a few months, with a decision by the end of the year. New rates would hit in January.

We don’t mind paying a fair rate of return, but FPL should not ask for $1 billion next year alone — not during a severe recession. Everybody’s feeling the pain, and corporate giants should, too. The company’s creative writers must be aware of that as well.

The Public Service Commission should reject this request.

Read the full Bradenton Herald editorial online, here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Florida growth least in 60 years ... so why all the electricity, why two new nukes, why now?

Alan Farago raises a very cogent point in his contribution last week to Counter Punch, titled "The Recession, the Developers and Baseball ..."
In the halls of government in cities like Miami, where the jackhammers and cranes and cement trucks have all gone quiet, there is a palpable sense of nostalgia, broken only by hope for a new $500 million stadium or, as Florida Power and Light would have it, two new nuclear reactors costing $18 billion at least ...
Whoa! Stop right there ...

And follow with today's report from the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research showing that annual population growth in our State has now slowed to a trickle of what it was from 2000-2006:
With South Florida counties particularly hard hit, the state is expected to add an average of only 37,000 residents each year between 2008 and 2010, a drop of more than 90 percent from the annual average increase during the housing boom years of 2002 to 2006, said Stan Smith, director of UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research who led the research. The new report shows county population projections from 2008 to 2035.
Broward and Palm Beach Counties are even expected to lose population during the next two years. Stan Smith, director of UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, said that as a result of the recession in Florida ...
As economic growth slowed and the housing market cooled, annual population growth declined from an average of 395,000 between 2000 and 2006 to 331,000 between 2006 and 2007 and 127,000 in 2007 and 2008 ...
Not since the 1940s will Florida's population growth have been this slow -- that's right, the slowest population growth in 60 years!

So, why ... tell us why does FPL need to build and charge its customers at a cost of no less than $18 billion the two new nuclear reactors 6 &7 at the Turkey Point power station?!?

New Feature: Stop FPL Favorite Cartoons

Two brilliant cartoons in less than a week -- the first at the Sun-Sentinel, the second at Coconut Grove Grapevine -- have inspired us to launch a new sidebar feature: "Stop FPL Favorite Cartoons."

Leaving it at the top of the right-hand sidebar for now, but will soon drop it down nearer our "Favorite Videos."

Now that we have two ... anybody care to make it THREE favorite cartoons? Submit yours today ...

Coconut Grove activists to question FPL plans for high-voltage lines down US1

Coconut Grove activists have joined to question FPL's proposed US1 route for the Turkey Point 6 & 7 Transmission Lines project, carrying high-voltage electricity on 100-foot concrete towers along South Dixie Highway from Cutler Bay into downtown Miami.

According to a blog post over the weekend at Coconut Grove Grapevine, local Grove activist Harlene Kennedy has joined with Village Council member Alyn Pruett to form a local committee "to talk about FPL issues like burying powerlines and the new FPL high voltage lines."

The Grove committee will be attending the March 26 town hall meeting hosted by County Commissioner Katy Sorensen to discuss Turkey Point safety lapses and related issues at the South Dade Government Center 10710 SW 211 St, Cutler Bay (6:30 pm).

Coconut Grove Grapevine generously volunteers to put interested parties in touch with the Grove activists, here.

And, in a separate post at the Grapevine, you just gotta love this contributed cartoon by Harry Emilio Gottlieb ...

PSC should just say No to FPL rate-hike request: Miami Herald editorial

The Miami Herald editorial this morning took on FPL and the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) in its editorial this morning condemning the FPL request for a billion-dollar rate hike request, to begin January 2010:

The Public Service Commission should emphatically deny the request, though not for the sheer audacity of FPL's timing. The request should be rejected because it isn't warranted -- and because it is asking too much of too many who have too little.

If granted, the rate increase would push FPL's monthly base rate to $51.71 from $39.31. This is what FPL gets before adding other charges for taxes, fuel conservation, franchise fees, customer charges, capacity payment, environmental charges, etc.

What's more, the Herald challenged FPL's misinformation about whether or not the huge rate-hike would result in higher electric bills:

Customers could actually end up with lower bills even with the rate hike once the improvements take effect and are combined with current and projected lower costs for fuel, FPL says. This is, in fact, true, although not very likely. As they say in car-mileage commercials, ``Actual results may vary.''

FPL was kind enough to list the many ways that ''actual results may vary'' in its press release last week. Information about the rate-hike request was presented in one-and-a-half pages. Possible variances to the lower-payment scenario required four-and-a-half pages of small print, in legalese.

That explains why some papers around the State actually portrayed the hike as a reduction ... accomplishing the FPL Corporate Communications strategy of misinforming the media and the public in order to have its way with the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Kudos to the Herald for clearly spelling this out and standing up in the public defense on this one!

The full text of the Miami Herald's editorial is online, here.

Herald: Divisions among South Miami commissioners prevented unified opposition against FPL

As the Herald reported on Sunday, the failure of the South Miami City commission to pass either of two resolutions at it's meeting last Tuesday means that "residents opposed to adding planned power lines to South Miami will have to wait until next month for their political leaders to voice their opposition."

Nothing new from what we'd already reported at Stop FPL. Except that the paradox of Mayor Feliu voting against his own resolution escaped us!

The Herald's reporting of this story as a kind of factional spat between Commissioners, however, is a real simplification of what actually occurred ... which appears to have been an orchestrated effort by Feliu and Commissioner Beckman to derail a timely resolution that would immediately put South Miami on record in opposition to the proposed routes of the Turkey Point 6 & 7 Transmission Lines project.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ummm, how do you spell "sellout" ... B-U-B-R-I-S-K-I , is it? Former Obama flak to put on new FPL hat

This just in from the "Post on Politics" blog: "Former Obama, Florida Democratic Party communications director heads to FPL"

In a post by Michael C. Bender of today's date ...
Word is Mark Bubriski, who led the communications effort for Barack Obama’s Florida campaign last year, has accepted a job to become director of media relations for Florida Power & Light, the electric utility serving all of South Florida and the state’s east coast.

Bubriski, who worked as communications director for the Florida Democratic Party before joining the Obama campaign, is expected to start next week at the company’s Juno Beach headquarters.
We'd like to say, "Say it ain't so!"

But, WTF ... in this world of so little principle in which we live, it's not really surprising, is it? I mean, Stop FPL has already established that several leading Democrats in our State were not remiss in lining up for the FPL campaign cash swill in 2008, not to mention previous election cycles.

It was disappointing enough that Barack Obama played along with the "nuclear-as-renewable" gang in order not to stir up too much opposition to efforts to go toward wind and solar. It WAS a political campaign and lots of things get said in a political campaign in order to win.

But, that Democrats who worked on Obama's Florida campaign seem now to be joining with certain environmentalists who look the other way when it comes to FPL's environmental record and justify their palling around with the utility on the the basis of a few recently installed megawatts of solar- and wind-generated power ... that's just tiresome!

So, now we get to see Ivy-League fasttalker Mark Bubriski, formerly of Dartmouth University, Harvard University School of Education and Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, put his Northeast liberal principles to work and show us how fast he can talk on behalf of Florida Plunder and Loot!

Hey, you know them by the company they keep! And, if Bubriski truly has declared for FPL, then Mr. Bubriski ... welcome to the front lines!

FPL Corporate Comms now following Stop FPL!

Received notification today that "Anne-Louise Seabury is now following you on Twitter!"

So we checked out Anne-Louise's twitter profile here and then Googled to find her LinkedIn profile here:

Turns out Anne-Louise works in Corporate Communications at FPL, which means that Stop FPL has obviously come to their attention and they're interested in seeing what's being said here about them.

Which gives us an idea: maybe we can find out what percentage of the average monthly electricity bill goes toward marketing, advertising and public relations work at FPL -- all designed to convince us that we need things like nuclear plants and high-voltage transmission lines in our neighborhoods that were never requested, not wanted and now not needed by customers of FPL, given the disastrous economic downturn that unmitigated corporate greed and lack of real regulation has caused in our country! Just a thought ...

But, back to Anne-Louise ... Welcome Aboard! And enjoy the show!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chan Lowe's Lowe-Down on the FPL rate hike request

Courtesy of Chan Lowe's Lowe-Down at the Sun-Sentinel ...

FPL rate hike request
It's too bad they can't figure out a way to generate electricity from chutzpah, because if they could, we FPL customers would be paying the lowest rates in the nation.

After a rainstorm--that's right, a rainstorm---causes tens of thousands to lose their power, FPL wants to squeeze an additional $1 billion out of us, claiming that they haven't raised base rates in kilowatt decades. If that's so, what's been causing our bills to go up over the years? Could it be those fuel charges they wanted to raise, even though prices have dropped precipitously since last summer?

Maybe they just took a cue from AIG. Since massive incompetence appears to be richly rewarded these days, why not belly up to the trough with the rest of the hogs? After all, FPL can stack its ineptitude up with the best of them.

Strike while the socket is hot, as they say at FPL headquarters.

FPL hiring out-of-state workers, say Florida hard hats

Construction workers to protest at new FPL plant ... film at 11 !!

WPTV Channel 5 reports online:
LOXAHATCHEE, FL -- Construction workers across South Florida will be protesting Thursday at the new Florida Power and Light facility today.

Workers say the construction company working on the plant in Loxahatchee has been hiring out of state workers instead of local workers.

The power plant is expected to open in about a year and a half.

The protest will take place at 4:30 Thursday afternoon outside the facility.
So, not only is FPL building plants that we may not even need in the current economic downturn, but they're using out-of-state labor to cut costs!

FPL's misinformation campaign: Sowing the seeds of confusion by calling a rate hike a rate cut

Writes the Sun-Sentinel's Julie Patel: Florida consumer advocate concerned, customers confused by FPL rate increase request ...

And columnist Mike Mayo: After the shock: FPL’s rate hike request just a starting point ...

And Charlie Beck, of the Office of Public Council, was astounded by the news, according to John Dorschner at the Herald ... http://tinyurl.com/dcxxv2.

And the confused Orlando Sentinel, followed the FPL "spin" on the story here ... http://tinyurl.com/cvz3j7.

And the "spin" is clearly what lead to the confusion. Here's the FPL headline on their press release, obviously designed to mask the bad news of the rate hike inside messaging about "clean, reliable energy solutions" ...

FPL rate proposal would support investment in fuel efficiency, cleaner energy and system reliability while keeping customer bills low

So, is the spin deliberate and designed to create confusion or what? And, really, what kind of fools do they take us for?

Earth First! Roadshow in South Florida this weekend: March 20 - Miami / March 21 - Jupiter / March 22 - Lake Worth

This just in from Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition, which has been on the front lines -- literally -- in the fight against FPL over the West County Energy Center and Barley Barber swamp, and has done some absolutely great demonstrations in front of the FPL headquarters in Juno ...


3/20, Miami, FL
8:00pm Black Mangrove Collective

This event will include a presentation from Max Rameau of Take Back the Land
Location: 138 NW 37th Street, Miami

3/21, Jupiter FL,
Earth First! Benefit Show
at Adam Barksdale’s place, with 14 bands, show starts at 4pm, EF! Roadshow will be tabling at event, doing our puppet show at 4pm and slideshow presentation at 7pm… donation $5-10
Location: 13926 157th Ct N, Jupiter Fl, 33478
For more details: www.earthfirstroadshow.wordpress.com

These two events on Friday and Saturday will be followed on Sunday with ...

Sunday March 22 at 7pm
Benefit Dinner and Theater at the Canew (collective house in LW)

822 North C Street, Lake Worth

Join us for a local foods dinner, activist theater and direct action slide show to benefit a great cause; the local Earth First! direct action movement and touring roadshow!

Making the connections between local sustainability and environmental action:
* local foods dinner - direct from our bountiful backyard garden
* tour of the garden, bee-hives, home-made solar panel and water systems
* exciting puppet theater & presentation by Earth First! about the U.S.radical environmental movement
* good company to boot!

Sliding scale donation from $10 - $20. Money will support the Earth First! direct action movement and roadshow. Wine and beer cash bar available.

Seating is limited, please R.S.V.P and let us know your meal preference (vegan, vegetarian, omnivore) evergladesearthfirst@gmail.com or 561-584-2644


More on the proposed FPL "billion dollar" base rate increase

More on the proposed FPL "billion dollar" base rate increase from Julie Patel, blogging at the Sun-Sentinel here http://tinyurl.com/ddu5m7 and main story here ... http://tinyurl.com/dl4qqx

And, from John Dorschner of the Miami Herald here ... http://tinyurl.com/dcxxv2.

Even the public utility watchers are astounded by this one, as Dorschner's story points out:
''Wow,'' said Charlie Beck of the Office of Public Counsel, which represents utility customers, when he heard the numbers. ``Wow. This is the biggest rate increase I have ever seen requested by a utility in Florida. This is really something.''
Reporting from SoFlo Business Journal, here http://tinyurl.com/cwj9vj ... and Palm Beach Post, here ... http://tinyurl.com/ck4hdo ... and Orlando Sentinel, swallowing the FPL "spin" on the story and getting it wrong here ... http://tinyurl.com/cvz3j7.

Of all the papers, the Sun-Sentinel's site is most social media-friendly, and love the comments we're seeing on Julie Patel's main story, here, especially this one from "Powerball":
I have an idea for the new FP&L logo. How about they just have a ski mask and a gun. Simple, to the point, an honest.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FPL seeks $800-million-plus base rate increase, for 4.5% avg monthly bill hike

In a press release out of its Juno, FL headquarters today, FPL requested that anticipated monthly base rate increase previously set at a total of between $850-$900 million dollars that will go in part toward paying for another two new nuclear reactors at the Turkey Point power station in Miami-Dade County.

Released on the same day as FPL revealed that 11,000 customers had lost power in South Florida as a result of a rainstorm, the news announcement says that if approved by the Florida Public Service Commission:
Under the company’s proposal, the typical 1,000 kilowatt-hour residential customer bill would decrease by an estimated $4.92 monthly, or 4.5 percent, from $109.55 to $104.63 on Jan. 1, 2010.
The release also said that the base rate will principally go toward increasing capital investment (that is, expansion of power generation, transmission and distribution facilities), including "strengthening the transmission and distribution system" as well as "existing fossil fuel power generation facilities" and "existing nuclear power generation facilities."

In a previously released 10-K SEC filing by Florida Power & Light Co, the company said that:
In November 2008, FPL notified the FPSC that it intends to initiate a base rate proceeding in March 2009. In the notification, FPL stated that it expects to request an $800 million to $950 million annual increase in base rates beginning on January 1, 2010 and an additional annual base rate increase beginning on January 1, 2011. These amounts exclude the effects of depreciation, which depend in part on the results of a detailed depreciation study that FPL is currently finalizing. Further, FPL expects to request that the FPSC continue to allow FPL to use the mechanism for recovery of the revenue requirements of any new power plant approved pursuant to the Siting Act that was established in FPL's 2005 rate agreement. Hearings on the base rate proceeding are expected during the third quarter of 2009 and a final decision is expected by the end of 2009. The final decision may approve rates that are different from those that FPL will request. (yellow-highlighted emphasis is ours)

In other words, any power plant approved by the Florida Public Services Commission under the terms of the 2005 base rate agreement -- including Turkey Point 6 & 7 nuclear reactors that are yet to be built -- are going to be funded by slapping another $4.92 monthly onto the average consumer's electricity bill!

Read the full FPL news release online, here.

One rainstorm and ... 11,000 FPL Customers Without Power

Unbelievable that one rainstorm would knock out power to 11,000 FPL customers in South Florida. Not a tropical storm, not a hurricane ... just rain and wind!!!

Whatever do we pay them so much for??

Red all about it here and here and here and here ...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorensen calls community meeting on Turkey Point safety concerns

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorensen has announced that she will host a community meeting in South Miami-Dade to discuss the growing list of safety concerns and allegations that have surfaced over the last couple years regarding the FPL Turkey Point nuclear power facility.

Hat tip to the Homestead is Home blog for timely posting of the news of this meeting, which will be held on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 6:30 PM at the South Miami-Dade Government Center, 10710 SW 211 Street, Room 203, Cutler Bay.

In a statement published by Homestead is Home, Commissioner Sorensen said:
“I have concerns that have been echoed by a number of my constituents living near the Turkey Point facility about the utility’s recent track record on safety,” explained Commissioner Sorenson. “This meeting will give our residents living near the nuclear power plant an opportunity to ask questions and get answers to their concerns."

“The regularity of these revelations is of great concern,” said Sorenson. “The community most directly at risk from a serious accident at the plant needs to know that the Utility is operating the Turkey Point nuclear power plant with the safety of our community first.”

Power transmission lines legislative update from Rep. Ronald Brise (D-North Miami)

Florida House Bill 1315 -- tentatively titled "Construction of Electric Transmission Lines" -- was heard this morning by the lower chamber's Energy & Utility Policy Committee in Tallahassee, according to a press release issued today by the office of the bill's sponsor in the House, Rep. Ronald Brise (D-North Miami).

Action on the bill by the House committee, which offers redress to local communities when they are negatively impacted by high-voltage electricity transmission lines from FPL and other utilities that run through their communities, was postponed pending further amendment. The companion Senate Bill 2644 has not yet been heard by committee in the upper house of the Legislature, according to the press statement.

Hat tip to North Miami Commissioner Scott Galvin for forwarding this information. North Miami was negatively impacted in 2006, when FPL ran high-voltage lines through the city.

Click here or on the image above to read the full press release.

Click here to read Stop FPL's previous coverage of these two bills, which are pending before the current session of the Legislature.

When the Turkey Points at You! ... a South Miami original

This just in from "Bobnoxious" in South Miami ... the lyrics and .mp3 download link for a humble musical contribution to the ongoing "discussion" over the Turkey Point transmission lines coming through communities along US1.

We can't figure out how to upload audio to the Blogger platform, so we've taken the liberty of plugging it into video format "for your listening pleasure," below ...

If you're really interested, or think you may be able to get to Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry to re-record the original, the lyrics (er, "the rest") follow the video.

When the Turkey Points at You!
Music by the Who Squeezebox,
the rest by Fred Truby and Bob Welsh

Downtown’s got a building boom one tenth full at best
Two new nukes give Turkey Point a fright’ning excess
And they’re hummin’ all night and their sparks make a sight
Buildin’ up the power grid and Daddy never sleeps all night.

There’s an actor named Bob, from FPL
He tells us to conserve while his bosses say, “Sell”
And they’re hummin’ all night and their sparks make a sight
Buildin’ up the power grid and Daddy never sleeps all night

All the lobbyists in their business suits
Tellin’ all these lies for Flor’da Plunder’n Loot
And they’re hummin’ all night and their sparks make a sight
Buildin’ up the power grid and Daddy never sleeps all night

They cause cancer and Hodgkins and I’m not jokin’
That high voltage power lines are worse for you than smokin’
And they’re hummin’ all night and their sparks make a sight
Buildin’ up the power grid and Daddy never sleeps all night

A million more in Miami makes a hot city hotter
They can make more electric but they can’t make more water
And they’re hummin’ all night and their sparks make a sight
Buildin’ up the power grid and Daddy never sleeps all night

Remember Wilma, Hurricane Wilma
FPL’s lack of planning killed
Then they surcharged all our bills
Buildin’ up the power grid and Daddy never sleeps all night.

Eye on Miami: FPL's determination to waste the Everglades, one power plant at a time

Gimleteye's post at Eye on Miami this morning about FPL's determination to "waste the Everglades, one power plant at a time" is so well put, that there's no more that can really be added here.

It's an argument that is very clear and concise and one that all South Floridians should be paying attention to. As gimleteye points out to the corporate apologists at FPL, the company's employees ...
The 11,000 people who "live and work in the same communities as our customers" might ask their employer how safe it is to mine more than 10 million cubic yards of wetlands, with a total of over 26 million cubic yards just off Card Sound Road for its new nuclear reactors, to put them twenty feet above sea level.

According to the National Park Service, "this coastal wetland system represents the last remaining historic southeastern EVerglades, and land use decisions affecting this region will determine the fate of recovery efforts for Florida and Biscayne Bays."
FPL is deficit-spending our environment with their ongoing nuclear and gas-fired power plant expansion in Florida. Isn't it time that taxpayers and electricity customers say ENOUGH! Give us clean electricity NOW or open up the FPL monopoly to true competition from providers of green power to utility customers statewide!!

Read the entire post at Eye on Miami today, here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Transmission line bills already in committee in Tally, but So Miami mayor proposes own

It is, shall we say, rather unusual once the Legislative Session has already begun and bills are being discussed and introduced into Committee hearings by their respective Legislator-sponsors in both the State House and Senate in Tallahassee, that an elected official from a small city of 10,000 should not only suddenly come up a with a proposed amendment to Florida Statute ...

And then to also expect that at such a late date it might find a sponsor in the House and another in the Senate, much less be scheduled into Committee at this late date, much less make it to the floor of either Chamber for a vote by end of session.

But, that's just what's happened in South Miami, where Mayor Horace Feliu has brought forth an FPL-related resolution on tomorrow night's agenda -- one of three FPL-related resolutions on the agenda, two of which the Mayor is sponsoring himself -- that calls for an amendment to Florida Statue 337.401 with regard to the siting of transmission lines along public road right-of-ways.

Stranger still, when there are already two proposed companion bills in committee hearings in Tallahassee -- House Bill 1315, tentatively tentatively titled "Construction of Electric Transmission Lines" and companion Senate Bill 2644 -- with corresponding sponsors and designed to fix the problem of siting of transmission lines along public road right-of-ways in a manner that decidedly would give more power and autonomy to local municipalities willing to stand up to FPL.

South Miami residents, as we know, are up in arms about FPL high-voltage transmission lines that would carry power from Turkey Point reactors 6 & 7 through their city along two possible routes. Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner has already written a letter to FPL opposing one of those routes, which comes right up South Dixie Highway from Palmetto Bay through Coconut Grove.

The resolution as posted on the agenda at the City's website (and presumably the "urging the Florida Legislature not to pass such legislation" is a scrivener's error!!) reads:
Now, given that there are already two perfectly good bills in the Florida House and Senate dealing with the construction of transmission lines through local municipalities, why would it be necessary to drum up an additional bill at this late hour ... and one with no visible sponsorship in the Legislature at this point in time?

Did the Mayor just not do his homework on this one ... or is there something we're missing here?

Florida House, Senate bills designed to promote nuclear & gas-fired power plant investment

For anyone at all interested in moving toward truly renewable sources of energy, in need of some serious public scrutiny are a pair of companion bills currently under consideration in the Florida House and Senate that are unabashedly "designed to promote utility investment in nuclear or integrated gasification combined cycle power plants and allow for the recovery in rates of all prudently incurred costs ..."

The bills -- House Bill 1101, sponsored by Rep. Peter Nehr (R-Tarpon Springs); and Senate Bill 1830, sponsored by Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) -- do contains some consumer-protection language that would result in refunds to customers when gas-fired or nuclear plants or related transmission lines and other facilities are not built.

But, of particular concern is language that at face-value would appear to enable automatic base rate increases to cover return on capital investment, based upon the last previous calculation of the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) and without additional review by the PSC:
"When the nuclear or integrated gasification combined cycle power plant is placed in commercial service, the utility shall be allowed to increase its base rate charges by the projected annual revenue requirements of the nuclear or integrated gasification combined cycle power plant based on the jurisdictional annual revenue requirements of the plant for the first 12 months of operation. The rate of return on capital investments shall be calculated using the utility's rate of return last approved by the commission prior to the commercial inservice date of the nuclear or integrated gasification combined cycle power plant."
Concerned citizens and environmental organizations need to examine these bills closely, especially considering that their proponents in the Florida House and Senate have been recipients of FPL PAC campaign contributions in the past.

Rep. Bill Nehr is a Republican who sits on the Florida House's Committee on Environmental Protection and the House's Economic Expansion and Infrastructure Council. According to the Florida Division of Elections Campaign Finance Database, Nehr received the maximum $500 in finance contributions in both of his 2006 and 2008 campaigns from FPL PAC and FPL Employees PAC. Such contributions are usually indicators of additional FPL-linked contributions from individual company employees and individuals linked to FPL partner companies, usually funnelled through FPL registered lobbyists in Tallahassee.

The powerful President Pro-Tempore in the State Senate, second only to Senate President Jeff Atwater in arm-twisting clout in the upper chamber, Fasano is also a member of the Senate's Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities committee. He has likewise been on the the receiving end of FPL PAC money, having matched Atwater's maxed-out combined contributions of $2,500 in FPL PAC monies in his 2002, 2003 and 2008 election campaigns.

House Bill 1101 can be read in its entirety online, here.

Senate Bill 1830, can be read in its entirety online, here.

To see who else in Tallahassee is on the FPL PAC "payroll," see Stop FPL's previous post, here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Turkey Point senior operator letter: FPL ignored danger in trying to reboot reactor

Hat tip to Eye on Miami for having covered for our "blind spot" and realized that the Miami Herald actually posted the resignation letter of Turkey Point chief operator David Hoffman as part of it's coverage yesterday ... and for reposting the letter today.

Here, in full, is Mr. Hoffman's letter (click on image to enlarge)...

The Miami Herald's original coverage is available online, here.

Eye on Miami's initial post yesterday is available, here.

And the Eye on Miami followup today, posting Hoffman's letter, here.

FPL 30-year franchise agreement opposed by Martin County Commissioner

Kudos to Martin County Commissioner Sarah Heard (District 4) for standing up and questioning the merits of a proposed FPL franchise agreement that locks the county in to a 30-year deal ... and would pass the price tag along as a hidden cost to consumers.

In a guest column this week in the Scripps-Treasure Coast newspaper chain, Heard addressed Martin County's 30-year franchise agreement within the context of the local debate over how to solve temporary budget woes at the risk of imposing new long-term taxes. Commissioner Heard said she opposed imposing "hidden costs" on county residents and that one such measure she opposed is the proposed 30-year franchise fee with FPL.

In her column, Commissioner Heard explained:
Here’s how it works. For 30 years, Martin County agrees that FPL will provide our electricity.

What does Martin County get in exchange? Every year for the next 30, FPL will pay to Martin County a franchise fee equal to 5.9 percent of FPL revenues within all of unincorporated Martin County. This fee is being enthusiastically promoted by our county administrator and the majority of our county commissioners. Why? It will be used to plug the holes in our budget, the ones resulting from current shortfalls in impact and building fee collections, and gas and property tax collections.

How can FPL afford to rebate Martin County 5.9 percent each year? It’s simple. FPL will add a 5.9 percent new tax onto every bill they send you every month for the next 30 years.

This is a “gift” we cannot afford. We must not succumb to this lure of an easy short-term fix, which obligates all of us to another hidden hefty 30-year tax bill, in order to gloss over and solve our immediate and temporary budget problems.

I understand FPL officials’ motivation. They recognize that they will be making multimillion-dollar infrastructure improvements to provide energy to growing populations here. This fee provides them assurance that they will retain their market share. But, it is a hidden cost passed down to rate payers, who will not receive commensurate benefit from the additional taxes we will pay.
In making her position known, Commissioner Heard has joined an increasing number of local elected officials and community activists, most recently from South Daytona and Biscayne Park, who are questioning the terms of the FPL 30-year franchise agreements in their communities.

It takes real political courage to stand up to FPL on these local issues. We know that FPL channels a lot of money into the campaign coffers of those politicians who support it and to opponents of those elected officials and candidates who dare to oppose it. Commissioner Heard is to be applauded for her willingness to take on the energy giant over this "hidden cost" that would be passed along to her constituents. And, she deserves all our support!

Read the full text of Commissioner Heard's guest column, here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Miami Herald exposé of safety, security lapses at Turkey Point nuclear station

The Internet is abuzz today with the Associated Press pickup of this morning's Miami Herald stories about Turkey Point safety and security lapses.

Take a look at the number of related stories now listed in a Google News search of "Turkey Point" ...

Kudos to business writer John Dorschner for this exposé of the ongoing problems at Turkey Point as FPL tries to move forward with construction of two more reactors, soaking consumers in the process for a massive base rate hike of nearly a billion dollars -- yet to be approved by the Florida Public Service Commission.

The four related Herald stories are now available online at:
Court papers reveal nuclear feud at Turkey Point

At heart of Turkey Plant workers' unrest: overtime

Silence clause aims to keep Turkey Point workers quiet

Amid nuclear worker shortage, FPL says it's following rules
Read it and weep? Save your tears ... maybe there's time yet to stop nuclear reactors 6 & 7 from endangering the public through the same sort of safety and security lapses that continue to plague Turkey Point.

FPL's nuclear workers still asleep at the switch? Long hours, exhaustion the cause

The Miami Herald reports today that "Five times since 2000, operators of U.S. nuclear power plants have been found slumped over their controls asleep, according to federal documents."

And the reason, says the newspaper, is "exhaustion from long stretches of overtime." Citing federal documents, today's report goes on to say that:
In the first six weeks of of 2008, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission found that Florida Power & Light's nuclear plants had 21 overtime ''deviations'' in which 17 plant operators had worked more than 72 hours a week, the maximum now allowed. Two of those workers were involved in a spill of 200 gallons of boric acid used to control the nuclear reaction in the core, but there was no indication from the NRC on whether fatigue could have caused the error.
Our view: It's not like FPL doesn't make enough money to hire sufficient workforce to make sure competent, alert plant workers are manning the controls ... last year's gross profit by the FPL Group was a whopping $5.47 billion, with 4Q-08 gross profit coming in at an incredible $1.41 billion ...

Read the full Herald story online, here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Asplundh: FPL's $2.37 billion partner in 'Distribution Vegetation Management'

If you really, really like Asplundh ...

... you'll just love the all New Asplundh Diecast 1:34 Scale Model Replica Bucket Trucks you've all been waiting for. Yes, they've arrived! Click here to pre-order yours today!!! (Seriously!!!)

Actually, our favorite section in the story we ran across in Transmission & Distribution World magazine, titled FPL Invests in Infrastructure Resistant to Hurricanes, is the part subheaded "Distribution Vegetation Management." That, of course, is an industry euphamism for the hat-racking that Florida homeowners are so accustomed to witnessing when an Asplundh truck chances into their neighborhood.

According to the article:
In 2008, FPL continued its three-year cycle for clearing vegetation from distribution main lines and completed the second year of its six-year cycle for neighborhood lines. Overall, FPL trimmed trees and cleared vegetation from more than 11,000 miles throughout the state. Total costs in 2008 were $57.9 million, with 2009 costs expected to be $68.3 million.
That means that FPL paid out nearly $60 million in '08 and will top that amount by nearly $10 million in '09 to pay companies like Asplundh to keep the lines clean. OK, so we know the cost to the customers.

But, at what brutal cost to the trees? And, at what profit to Asplundh?

Ah, well ... we had no idea that Asplundh, with its 28,606 employees nationwide does so very well at the hat-racking business, thank you! And, by well, we mean they pulled in $2.37 billion in revenues for 2008.

That's "B" as in "BILLION," folks, earning them a coveted spot in the Top 200 rankings by Forbes Magazine of "America's Largest Private Companies." Who knew?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Biscayne Park votes down early FPL franchise renewal; transmission lines contentious

The Biscayne Park Village Commission reversed course during the March 3rd second reading of a resolution calling for early renewal of a 30-year agreement with FPL that villagers said would unnecessarily lock them into a franchise deal with FPL over the use of the electric power distribution grid and placement of transmission lines in the community.

After having voted previously 3-2 in favor of the agreement, the commission voted against the deal during its March 3rd commission meeting, opting instead to wait until the April 2010 renewal date of the current FPL franchise agrement before taking final decision, according to a story appearing in the Miami Herald today.

According to the Herald story, one of Biscayne Park's biggest concerns has been "whether FPL should be allowed to put up transmission lines in the village without the consent of residents."

Commissioner Steve Bernard told the paper that postponement will allow village staff to negotiate the contract and perhaps eliminate the part that would allow the utility to build transmission lines in the village when it sees a need. FPL spokesperson Sharon Bennet said that franchise agreements give FPL the right to construct and maintain electrical facilities within municipal boundaries.

According to the Herald report:
The issue of transmission lines sparked concern several years ago when FPL announced it needed to build lines -- requiring 80-foot concrete poles with six-foot-wide bases -- in the area.

Residents in Biscayne Park, North Miami, El Portal and Miami Shores opposed the installation. Ultimately, the route chosen by FPL mainly affected residential neighborhoods in North Miami.

The issue prompted state Rep. Ronald Brisé to sponsor a legislative bill that would require FPL to notify cities if they are to be affected by the building of transmission lines. If passed, the bill would allow cities to challenge the placement of the lines and request a hearing from the Public Service Commission, which regulates public utilities. The first reading of the bill took place March 3.
The full Herald story is available online, here.

Stop FPL previously posted on the Biscayne Park franchise agreement with FPL, here.

And, on the legislative bill introduced by state Rep. Ronald Brisé, here.

Could Georgia ruling by U.S. NRC panel impact Turkey Point 6 & 7 reactors?

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ruled that an application to build more nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta, Georgia, was incomplete because it had not taken into adequate consideration management of radioactive nuclear waste when the new reactors begin operation.

For Miami-Dade citizens and environmental groups still hoping to block the contruction of additional nuclear units 6 & 7 at the Turkey Point power plant near Homestead, the US NRC panel's ruling may be significant.

According to a press release issued today by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE):
By admitting the radioactive waste contention, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing board agreed that the impacts of storing nuclear waste on-site at Plant Vogtle must be studied, as an off-site storage site may not be available when needed.
The SACE release also noted that:
A long-term storage plan must be developed before the federal agency can issue a permit to build the proposed nuclear reactors. This ruling represents another small victory to prevent environmental damage from the proposed addition of two more reactors at Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle along the Savannah River, near Augusta, Ga.
SACE said that the three-judge panel's ruling comes as a result of a Nov. 2008 petition filed by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Center for a Sustainable Coast, Georgia WAND (formerly Atlanta WAND), Savannah Riverkeeper and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy on behalf of the groups' members with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The groups are represented by The Emory University School of Law’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic and Diane Curran, a Washington, D.C. attorney.

The full SACE press release about the NRC panel's ruling is available online, here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Miami Herald, WWF get it wrong on FPL and the "renewable portfolio standard"

Hat tip to gimleteye over at Eye on Miami for Sunday's post taking to task the Miami Herald's editorial support of the "'renewable portfolio standard'' that is up for consideration by the legislature at Gov. Charlie Crist's behest.

Titled "FPL and environmentalists: one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away...," the post rightfully points out the shortsightedness of the Herald's editorial, "Solar power vital to state's future," for its having failed to note that FPL has lobbied hard to include "nuclear energy" in Gov. Crist's so-called "renewable portfolio standard."

Stop FPL has posted previously here and here on FPL's efforts to have nuclear power redefined as "renewable" energy and to have it included in the State's diversified energy portfolio.

But, in all the media hooplah over FPL's groundbreaking last week over a solar plant in De Soto County -- at a mere 25-megawatts, representing a miniscule portion of FPL's overall electric power output for the State of Florida -- the FPL PR machine showed its prowess, managing to arrange to have some on-side environmentalists like the World Wildlife Fund's Debbie Harrison pronounce in the energy giant's favor and to use that to obfuscate the real story for reporters and editorial writers around the State.

As gimleteye so rightfully pointed out, such environmentalist support for FPL's meager solar initiatives belies the fact that:
FPL is hell-bent on destroying Biscayne National Park: not by direct impacts from nuclear power, but from rock mining nearby to get fill for its massive footprint and from water supply for the new cooling units that put the entire region at risk. The company is spending vast amounts of ratepayer dollars to push its plan through local and state permitting processes; witholding key aspects of the plan until they can be rushed through at the last moment, according to predetermined outcomes.

By including nuclear in the state requirements for what qualifies to be "renewable", FPL can minimize the effort to get consumers to use solar. Surely, Ms. Harrision knows that FPL and its brethren continue to resist fundamental reform of the regulatory structure in Florida. By centralizing solar through massive PV arrays it owns, FPL can control its business model. When consumers use solar on their rooftops or in their backyards, the control FPL can exert is massively fragmented.
Couldn't have said it better ourselves!

Eye on Miami is to be commended for pointing this out and the Miami Herald should be ashamed for having overlooked the obvious contradictions in the Governor's "renewable energy portfolio."

It's one thing to have FPL press releases disseminated and reposted across the Web, it's quite another for the editorial writers at the formerly august Miami Herald to swallow the FPL PR machine's pronouncements without bothering to do real investigation into the story behind the story ...