Friday, October 16, 2009

The View from Turkey Point

turkey_point_3 Interesting doings in Florida today:

The Florida Public Service Commission rejected arguments from environmentalists and clean-energy advocates and voted 3-1 today to approve a request by Progress Energy, and Florida Power & Light, to charge customers for four new nuclear power plants that wouldn't generate any voltage until 2017.

It’s a first shot on this story and not completely accurate. True, four new units are involved. Two of them – Progress Energy’s – will be in Levy County – we wrote about them the other day. The other two – FPL’s - will be put in the existing plant at Turkey Point. In addition, FPL won approval to increase capacity at four units, two each at Turkey Point and St. Lucie. Likewise, Progress Energy will be able to increase capacity at one unit at Crystal River.

We’d also call the “clean-energy advocates” phrase a bit misleading since nuclear advocates could call themselves that with equal validity.

But why filter? We can go straight to the Florida Public Service Commission to see what they said:

“Nuclear power provides fuel diversity and will save Florida residents money on future utility bills,” said PSC Chairman Matthew M. Carter II.  “The Legislature enabled utilities to plan for tomorrow by spreading the rate impact over time.  Utilities have to begin spending now to meet future power needs that will keep the lights on for us, our children, and our grandchildren at prices we can afford.”

Mr. Carter has given you Nuclear Power in a Nutshell; we offer a deep bow to him for hitting exactly the right note.

And here’s a bit more of what they did:

FPL’s approved $62,676,816 cost recovery includes costs associated with the uprate of its existing nuclear generating plants, Turkey Point Units 3 and 4 and St. Lucie Units 1 and 2, and the construction of its proposed nuclear power plants, Turkey Point Units 6 and 7. 

PEF’s approved $206,907,726 cost recovery includes costs associated with the uprate of its existing nuclear generating plant at Crystal River, and the construction of its proposed nuclear power plants, Levy Units 1 and 2. 

These figures cover the next year and have to be reapproved – we’re not exactly sure why, but it isn’t necessarily a bad idea. It allows the PSC to measure public feedback and progress made by the companies and to rule accordingly. But surely two years would be as workable and not send all the parties into battle mode so frequently. Even “clean energy advocates” need a breather.

Turkey Point. One of the nicer plant shots we’ve seen.

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