Posts Tagged ‘FLorida Power & Light Company’

6 December

India’s Answer to Rachel Maddow’s Comment on the Sunshine State

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Rachel Maddow's Comment on the "Where The Sun Don't Shine"

Rachel Maddow’s Comment on the “Where The Sun Don’t Shine”

This weekend, some of our friends have been sending me clip of a Rachel Maddow’s piece on “Where The Sun Don’t Shine”, commenting on Florida state legislators’  measures. Below (italics) is part of the transcript of Rachel Maddow’s piece on “Where The Sun Don’t Shine” that I would like to address:

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Florida, is, technically speaking, the Sunshine State. That is their official state nickname and they do not mean it as a metaphor. They meant it as a founding principle, a main  attraction of what Florida is. The Florida Department of Citrus has a new branded Avengers Character called Captain Citrus. Captain Citrus runs on Solar Power. The circle on his hands are solar pods. Maybe it’s my solar pods but you’re going down. Florida is so much the Sunshine State  that the whole ad campaign for the city of Ft. Lauderdale is called “Find Your Sunny” and you can find Ft. Lauderdale at sunny.org  Explore your sunny side in Sunshine State. So now naturally because it’s  Florida that Florida has declared war on the Sun, even if it still wants to be known as the Sunshine State. This past week, very quietly, just before Thanksgiving, Florida, incredibly, decided to try to kill solar power in the state of Florida, they voted to kill entirely the solar rebate program in the state for installing solar panels. At the same time they told the state power companies that they can basically stop their efforts to conserve energy. Maddow then proceeded to show the decrease in Florida’s goal for energy conservation, below (between 2009 and 2014)

Rachel Maddow's chart on FL conservation goal between 2009 and 2014

Rachel Maddow’s chart on FL conservation goal between 2009 and 2014

 

and they killed the program for solar power in the Sunshine State.

Power companies, the utilities, make money by selling power. The more power you use, the more power they can sell you, and therefore the more money they make. If you make the power yourself from the Sun, the solar panels on your roof, or if you/they/any one uses less power, then they (utility companies) will sell less power and make less money. So, right now, at the request of the utility companies, right before Thanksgiving, very quietly, Florida just decided to stop conserving energy as a state policy. They’re no longer going to try to even do that…and they’ve decided to completely unplug from the sun in the Sunshine State. It’s amazing….I don’t know what Captain Citrus is going to do, but I think Captain Citrus is not going to be happy about this…when this quiet news will be coming out…..

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Essentially there are two issues that are being addressed:

I. Cutting the Solar Rebate program: In reality, the Florida Solar Rebate program had not been funded for quite a few years already. Having an empty promise in solar rebate program hurts the solar policy or solar installations more than not having it at all (for many Floridians have chosen to wait to install solar in the future, when  the solar rebate program will be funded,  instead of installing now). So having it (empty or not-funded solar rebate program) off the books actually is a service for the Floridians. What we do need is better  solar/renewable energy policy and goal, as I’ve been trying to gather interest (supplemented with petition and interviews of various energy experts) in: http://www.sunisthefuture.net/2014/09/24/let-the-sunshine-in-the-sunshine-state/

II.Cutting the Energy Efficiency goal: As Ms. Maddow succinctly puts it, “power companies make money by selling power”, and therefore is not naturally incentivized to ask its customers to conserve energy use.  Expecting the power companies to voluntarily offer energy efficiency program is like asking some one else to do what I think is ethically correct while  asking that some one else to pay for it and I am not. If energy efficiency program is to be carried out, it should not be involving the power companies . We would also need to be prepared for rate hikes as what’s been happening in all of the states that have been very successful with their energy efficiency programs (i.e. CA, MA, RI, VT, OR, http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a)

Finally, I think the most efficient route is what’s being implemented in India, using carbon tax to fund clean, renewable energy (more details will be found in our next post). Right now, India has doubled its coal tax to 100 rupees per ton and will use the money generated for projects that would boost the country’s (India’s) solar power capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2020. So, if Floridians do not want to spend more on energy efficiency or solar rebate programs, then simply tax the carbon producers and use the yield to fund clean energy such as Solar and Wind or energy efficiency program. Then we may rightfully maintain our nickname as the SunShine State without having to tighten our belts. I think Captain Citrus will then approve.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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13 July

Answer For The Future Is In Hybrid Marriage-Solar And Fossil Fuel

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If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

Truly, we should all think positively about the alternative future, for human imagination is boundless.  We need to look no further than the state of Florida, where the first hybrid natural gas solar power plant and the world’s second-largest solar plant ( after the 310-megawatt Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert in CA, also owned by FPL, built in 1980s) just opened this year.  One of the nation’s biggest utilities, FPL (Florida Power & Light) Company, is running an experiment in the future of renewable power.  The Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center is a hybrid 75-megawatt (MW) (enough to sustain 11,000 homes) parabolic trough solar energy plant

Example of Solar Troughs Farm

, located on the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee (just north of Indiantown, FL), is built by FPL.  The solar plant is a component of the 3,705 MW Martin County Power Plant, which is the single largest fossil fuel burning power plant in the United States.   The Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center has an array of about 190,000-mirror parabolic troughs on approximately 5oo acres of the Martin County Plant.

 

These solar collectors (with parabolic mirrors) track the sun throughout the day,  capturing as much solar energy as possible and then converting  solar energy into electrical energy and  feed heat to the existing steam plant, generating electricity at a rate of 155,000 MW-h per year (average of 18 MW).  This is the first natural gas building to be retrofitted with solar thermal capabilities in such an industrial scale.  The real novelty of this project lies in the fact that the solar array is being grafted onto the back of the nation’s largest fossil-fuel power plant, fired by natural gas.  It is an experiment in whether conventional power generation can be married with renewable power so to lower the costs and  spare the environment.  In addition to reducing the consumption of natural gas and carbon dioxide emissions, this marriage will also serve as a real-life test on how to reduce the cost of solar power (compared with a stand-alone solar facility) by not having to build a new steam turbine or new high-power transmission lines. The construction of the plant began in 2008 and was completed by the end of 2010.  FPL expects the $476  million solar plant to reduce the combined-cycle power plant’s natural gas consumption by 1.3  billion cubic feet (37 billion cubic meter )per year. Over the 30-year life of the project, this is expected to save $178 million in fuel cost (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Jan. 28, 2011, Julie Patel) and reduce carbon emissions by 2.75 million tons (The New York Times, Mar. 4, 2010, Jad Mouawad).

Mark Brownstein, an energy and grid specialist at the Environmental Defense Fund, praised FPL’s innovative thinking. “When we talk about getting to a low-carbon, clean-energy economy,” he said, “we know there is not going to be a single technology that is going to transform the industry.”  Currently, 29 states require utilities to increase the amount of power produced from renewable energy, which includes solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass. Last year, Congress considered a federal mandate for 25 percent of renewable power by 2025 as part of its energy and climate legislation. (The bill has since stalled.)  While the use of renewable energy is growing, its share of world’s energy use/electrical generation remains small (recall World Energy Usage Chart from the Sun Is The Future post on April 3, 2011,

World Energy Usage Chart (Sun Is The Future, April 3, 2011)

).  Part of the challenge in increasing the share of renewable energy sources is to make up for their variable nature (such as at night, no sun, or when the wind does not blow).  Because electricity cannot be stored easily and utilities must always produce enough power to meet electric demand at any time,  hybrid plants could provide part of the answer.  Adding renewable power to existing fossil fuel plants that operate around the clock, utilities could have readily available power that could be fired up whenever the wind or solar resource drops off.  As long as we remain hopeful and creative, we earthlings will be able to face any challenge that lies ahead in our path toward  renewable and solar energy future.

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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