Thursday, August 01, 2013

Duke Energy COL for Levy County Nuclear Plant Still Alive Outside Cost Recovery

We've been watching the wires pretty closely every since we caught wind of a potential announcement by Duke Energy about the proposed nuclear project in Levy County, Florida. So far, several outlets have incorrectly reported that the project has been permanently shelved.

It's too bad those reporters didn't bother reading the fine print of the Duke Energy press release concerning a wide-ranging settlement with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) that went out about an hour ago (Bold emphasis mine):

In 2008, Duke Energy Florida announced plans to construct two 1,100-megawatt nuclear units in Levy County, Fla.

Duke Energy’s EPC agreement was based on the ability to obtain the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) combined construction and operating license (COL) by Jan. 1, 2014. As a result of delays by the NRC in issuing COLs for new nuclear plants, as well as increased uncertainty in cost recovery caused by recent legislative changes in Florida, Duke Energy will be terminating the EPC agreement for the proposed Levy nuclear project.

Although the proposed Levy nuclear project is no longer an option for meeting energy needs within the originally scheduled timeframe, Duke Energy Florida continues to regard the Levy site as a viable option for future nuclear generation and understands the importance of fuel diversity in creating a sustainable energy future. Because of this, the company will continue to pursue the COL outside of the nuclear cost recovery clause.

“We continue to believe that a balanced energy portfolio, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, and state-of-the-art cleaner power plants are critical to securing Florida’s energy future, and nuclear energy should remain an option to meet Florida’s future energy needs,” Glenn said.
So, what we're looking at is a delay, not a cancellation, and regulatory preparation for a potential new plant will continue. Here's hoping that detail gets back into the coverage this evening.


Brian Paddock said...

The plan to keep the COL application going is obviously a ploy to convince the PUC to let Duke keep the $1.5 Billon it has extracted from customers by pretending it will hold the money until the economics on nuclear power change -- which won't happen as efficiency and renewables get cheaper, better, and begin to fill the available space.

SteveK9 said...

Everything is 'obvious' to a conspiracy theorist.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, but this is not good news. The anti-nuke kooks will have a field day with any kind of cancellation news. And, no, "efficiency" and "renewables" won't cut it. They can't carry the load, never have, never will. Unreliables will be less attractive than nuclear. The only thing that will happen if Levy goes belly up will be burning more natural gas in FL, which means more GHG, more acidification of the oceans, more crap.

Anonymous said...

Statements concerning which generation sources are needed to meet demand have become less compelling lately as demand has essentially stagnated or decreased in many parts of the country due to the poor economic conditions. Simply doing nothing is now a viable alternative until the economy ever starts growing again.

When I used to work at TVA our peak summer demand was 32,000MW, however now it is only 29,000MW due to so many industrial customers shutting down and other factors like energy efficiency. This fact is the direct cause of Wwatts Bar being delayed so signifigantly and Bellefonte being indeffinitely deffered. I would imagine stagnant power demand more than anything else is what is killing the "nuclear renaissance". The record low interest rates these days as a result of Quantetative Easing actually makes the financial aspects of a large capital project like nuclear much more appealing. Also, the poor job market favors large capital projects since companies have a much stronger bargaining position with the local unions when it comes to wages these days and construction worker wages are the majority of the cost of a new nuclear plant.

Anonymous said...

The key statement is "outside of cost recovery."

Do you really think that Duke shareholders are going to press forward with COL if they have to shoulder the expenses and can't charge ratepayers for the work?

I know you are suppose to support the industry but to claim that Duke is going to move forward outside of cost recovery undermines NEI's credibility.