Posts Tagged ‘PSC’

3 September

Duke Energy Is Shifting From Nuclear To Solar!

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Below is a re-post from our sister publication, Windermere Sun.

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Solar Panels (photo by Neville Mecallef, presented at WindermereSun.com)

Windermere Blue Sunset (credit: Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

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What fantastic news for solar enthusiasts, climate scientists, and environmentalists! On Tuesday of this week, Duke Energy of Florida announced a settlement with Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC), equivalent to other states’ Public Utility Commission (PUC), to stop plans to build a nuclear power plant in western Florida. The utility, with the blessing from PSC, will instead invest $6 billion in solar panels, grid-tied batteries, grid modernization projects, and electric vehicle charging stations. This new investment plan will involve the installation of 700 MW of solar capacity over four year period in the western Florida region.

Duke Energy Florida may not have started building the Levy nuclear power plant, but it did have plans to order two AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse. But now, with the dramatic decrease in cost of solar and increase in battery storage technology, Florida utility concluded that it is much more cost effective to invest in solar rather than nuclear. Last week, Duke told its PSC that it would have to increase rates by more than 8% due to increased fossil fuel (coal and natural gas) costs. But with the new investment plan directing the utility toward solar and storage, that rate hike will be  4.6% instead of 8%.


 


Even though the preparatory expenditure on Levy are now sunk costs, this new plan will save residential customers future nuclear related rate increases. Customers will see a cost reduction of $2.50 per MWh (megawatt-hour) through the removal of unrecovered Levy Nuclear Project costs, according to the utility. The 700 MW of solar may not cover the 2.2 GW (gigawatt) capacity of the Levy plant, but it does indicate the dramatic shift from nuclear power to more solar power.

Duke Energy of Florida serves 1.8 million Floridians and had been relying heavily on natural gas. This week Duke said it wants to raise its solar power capacity to 8% generating power in the next four years.

The parent company of Duke Energy Florida, Duke Energy, also pulled the plug on another planned nuclear power plant in North Carolina last week, according to GreenTechMedia. With continuing drop in solar cost and  improved battery storage technology, it is conceivable that Duke would choose the best option of increasing solar for its customers.


It is a turning point in the history of energy use, when utility and PSC are able to be weaned from  nuclear and move onto solar. Thanks to those who have worked tirelessly in researching, developing, and improving battery storage technology. For this is necessary in order for solar to be promoted from intermittent to reliable source of power.

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

~have a bright and sunny day~

Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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

Georgia’s HB 657, Simply Solar

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Georgia legislature just introduced a new bill, HB 657, the Rural Georgia Economic Recovery and Solar Resource Act. This new bill was introduced by Rep. Rusty Kidd (l) late in the session so that lawmakers can study it and think about it for future sessions. Under the proposed legislation, Georgia’s Public Service Commission could allow a solar energy provider operate solar facilities and sell the electricity to Georgia Power, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. It’s about rural solar generation and distribution. However, there is a catch: a “community solar provider” must be certified by the Public Service Commission (PSC) instead of just setting up in business as in most states, and the PSC could certify only one state-wide monopoly;the summary in the front says “an independent community solar provider” as in only one, but the body of the bill says “any”. The bill requires the PSC to study changes in retail rates, but does not require timely public posting of who buys and sells which types of energy at which prices;nevertheless, it’s a good start. HB 657 is clean and simple;it’s just about solar energy (unlike HB 503, for Renewable Portfolio Standards, which includes biomass as a renewable energy source.) Perhaps after there will have been enough installations the benefits of solar will become more obvious and the PSC will certify a lot of community solar providers, including house and business rooftop solar. The main portion of the HB 657 is in Section 1. Section 2, 3, and  4 says community solar provider shall be considered as a customer generator, with energy flows measured the same way, and rates and quantities set the same way. Here is the text of the bill.

The bill would allow third-party ownership of solar in the Peach State, where Southern Co. subsidiary, Georgia Power has had exclusive rights to sell and produce power for 40 years. The legislation would benefit Georgia Solar Utilities Inc. The company is working on developing an 80-megawatt array near Milledgeville. In September of 2012, Georgia Solar Utilities Inc. said it plans to develop a 2-gigawatt portfolio of projects in the state. HB 657 would help to facilitate all of this while staying within the bounds of Georgia’s Territorial Act, which allows Georgia Power its sweeping range throughout the state.  The bill has wary support from the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA). The bill will make it easier for home and business owners in Georgia to go solar, according to Greentech Media’s Adam James. “For starters, the statute clears roadblocks like interconnection and grid access for generating assets, and the entire program is on an opt-in basis,” he writes. He says that competitive bidding will help create market incentives there to help drive down soft costs. “Since PV and solar farms are covered under the statute, neighborhood homes in Atlanta could have solar on the roof while unused fields in the country can host 30-megawatt solar farms.”

Much remains to be seen for the state of Georgia.  But it is certain that the legislature in Georgia is paying attention to their glorious sunshine now.

~have a bright and sunny day~

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

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