Tuesday, September 15, 2009

FPL Testimony Rebutting Southern Alliance for Clean Energy's Claims on New Nuclear Plants

It's been two years since Florida Power & Light petitioned (pdf) their public service commission to receive approval to build two new nuclear plants at its Turkey Point facility. And two years later, the debate about the need for those reactors continues on.

Most recently, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy attempted to dissuade the Florida PSC for the need of those reactors in light of today's low natural gas prices, the economic downturn, and the potential passage of the Waxman-Markey climate bill. In response, FPL analyzed SACE's narrow claims and took them to town (pdf):

The purpose of my [Steven R. Sim] rebuttal testimony is to discuss and respond to a number of statements and recommendations made by Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) Witness Cooper who has filed testimony in this docket.
SACE’s witness Witness Cooper declares there is a high level of uncertainty in the future. Then, when reviewing FPL’s current economic analysis of Turkey Point 6 & 7, Witness Cooper - who does not appear to have any utility system planning or electric generation analytical background or experience - attempts to persuade the state of Florida to discontinue the on-going evaluation of this option which would provide emission-free, fossil fuel-free, capacity and energy at a 90% capacity factor for at least 40 years. He attempts to do so by choosing to suspend his belief in future uncertainty at carefully selected points. At those points he selects a specific futures forecast, or contentious pending legislation, as certain guideposts for how the future will unfold for the next 50 years. Finally, he offers no meaningful economic analysis that contradicts FPL's 2009 economic analyses, nor is he able to support his conclusion that other resources will improve FPL’s system fuel diversity more than new nuclear capacity.

Therefore, Witness Cooper’s recommendation that Florida stop its on-going evaluation of the new Turkey Point 6 & 7 nuclear units does not warrant serious consideration.
The rebuttal gets better from there. After reading it, it's quite apparent how much analysis goes in to deciding which plants get built and which do not. Utilities don't take the decision lightly to build billion dollar nuclear plants and this rebuttal makes that clear. Check it out, it's quite informative (pdf).

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