The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) approved on October 26, cost recovery amounts for Progress Energy Florida (PEF) related to construction of planned nuclear generating plants and an uprate project at an existing generating unit. Costs will be recovered through the capacity cost recovery charge on customer bills beginning in 2011.
PEF’s approved $163,580,660 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. When completed, these projects will add 2,380 MWs of new nuclear base load generation to PEF’s system, enough energy to power 1.3 million homes.
With that decision, PEF’s customers will pay about $5.53 more per month for the first 1,000 kilowatt hours. The final approved amount for customer bills, however, will be determined after the PSC’s decision in the annual fuel cost recovery clause hearing beginning November 1.
To encourage the development of nuclear power, the Florida Legislature enacted a law in 2006 to permit utilities to recover some nuclear plant project costs during the construction process. The PSC then adopted a rule on how it evaluates those costs annually.
At the PSC’s annual nuclear cost recovery hearings on August 24-27, Commissioners heard testimony from the utilities, consumer groups, and the public. Resolution of all Florida Power & Light Company’s nuclear cost recovery issues have been deferred until the 2011 Nuclear Cost Recovery Clause proceeding, per agreement of all parties.
Florida Power and Light customers will also begin to pay toward the construction costs starting January 2011 for the proposed two new nuclear power plants in Turkey Point.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.
Compare this with the election of Rick Scott as the Governor of the State of Florida, a state that has worked hard to protect its natural resources and tourism industry especially during the recent Gulf oil spill crisis. What is his position on nuclear power and offshore oil drilling?
In an article on PolitiFact Florida on May 18. 2010 it quoted from Rick Scott’s campaign website that includes his position on “energy independence”:
“Energy Independence is not just critical to our economic security, it is also it crucial (sic) to our national security. We must stop being dependent on other countries for oil. We need to build more nuclear plants, invest in alternative fuels and drill off shore. But we must ensure that Florida’s beaches are protected. … As we explore the expansion of domestic drilling in the U.S. we must ensure that we have sound policies in place that ensure the companies drilling are doing so in an environmentally sound way and adhering to the strictest of safety standards. … Rick supports expansion of nuclear power, use of alternative fuels and off-shore drilling.”
In a May 11 Palm Beach Post blog it said Scott would oppose a constitutional ban on offshore drilling. Some political leaders have called for a ballot measure prohibiting drilling within 10 miles of Florida’s coast.
“We need to protect our beaches, break our dependency on foreign oil and hold oil companies accountable when there are problems,” Scott said, according to the blog. “As governor, I’ll look to strike a balance between responsible exploration that takes every precaution and is far enough from our shores while holding oil companies accountable for their mistakes.”
When asked if he supports an expansion of oil drilling. Spokesperson Jennifer Baker of his campaign for Governor said that Scott’s statement about drilling was posted on his website before the April 20 spill but was later clarified to add the phrase calling for policies to allow drilling in an “environmentally sound way and adhering to the strictest of safety standards.” That phrase was included on his website as of May 17, 2010.
She said Scott supports drilling on the condition that it can be done safely.
“He states that it must be done safely, we need to figure out what went wrong with the BP spill and hold the people responsible accountable and in the future drilling should be part of a comprehensive energy strategy that makes the United States energy independent,” Baker said.
This is a link to an interview on WIOD News Radio in which he was asked if he wanted to continue to drill.
“I believe we can come up with a way to drill with the right precautions,” Scott said.
It is clear that Rick Scott, now Governor is in favor of offshore drilling and against a constitutional ban as well as promoting nuclear power. That he keeps repeating offshore oil drilling is acceptable as long as it can be done safely should mean that it is never done because the safety record for the oil industry is not good. Ten miles is clearly not a number that will protect the coastlines as evidenced by the past summer as we all breathlessly waited to see if the loop currents would bring tar balls and any other residual effects from an oil spill to the Florida coastline. The event was clearly more than ten miles away. Florida demanded and received billions of dollars from BP Oil to address damage to their tourism industry. Profit at any price is an unsound environmental policy.
While “out of sight, out of mind” might seem like a way to address the damage ravaged by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a team of researchers surveying the depths of the Gulf of Mexico have found a large area of dead or dying corals and associated animals. Though the scientists caution that they cannot say definitively what caused the damage, they believe the limited evidence available points to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as the culprit. Recent reports support this.
Rick Scott, 57, is a multimillionaire, jumped into the Republican primary race in April with an antiestablishment message and tea party backing. A reminder, Rick Scott grew into the largest for-profit health care provider in the country in the 1990s, Columbia/HCA, which paid a record $1.7 billion Medicare fraud fine following an FBI probe shortly after Scott stepped down as CEO.
Now he has declared that he will run the State of Florida like a business and it seems consistent with his rhetoric, he has championed a report recently released by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think-tank in California that indicates the high-speed rail project from Tampa to Orlando could potentially cost twice original estimates and recommends abandoning it altogether. Reading a report by Florida PIRG regarding “Do roads pay for themselves” and the success and benefits of high speed rail, throws a light of doubt on the validity and the objectivity of the Reason Foundation report.
Read the full report “A Track Record of Success: High-Speed Rail Around the World and its Promise for America”.
A recent order by ASLB, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board was issued in response to a motion by the Ecology Party of Florida and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service that the environmental impact of the proposed nuclear power plants in Levy County have not been adequately addressed, The ASLB is the independent body within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that issues decisions for the NRC when there is a challenge to proposed licensing or enforcement actions.
Progress Energy’s application claimed that simulation models developed by its consultants show that the environmental impacts of the proposed nuclear reactors would be “small.”
The draft environmental impact statement prepared by NRC staff used Progress Energy’s claim to echo the utility’s conclusion without actually reviewing the model data.
“This is an extremely important ruling,” said Mary Olson, NIRS Southeast coordinator.
“Progress Energy and the NRC relied on these models to determine the environmental impact of constructing a nuclear facility and to justify claims of minimal environmental impacts. The data from these models must be independently reviewed, or the results cannot be verified.”
Ecology Party chair Cara Campbell said, “This is a critical issue, since corporations could insulate themselves from legal responsibility by delegating tasks to other companies not directly involved in the licensing process.
“The ruling could potentially affect every energy corporation considering construction of nuclear facilities.”
FPL’s proposed two new nuclear power plants at Turkey Point should come under the same scrutiny.
It is clear that policy regarding the environment though Scott’s term as governor will be challenging at best and decimating at worse. Considering that his recent inauguration cost about $3 million dollars primarily paid for by private large businesses, this seems to set the stage for a repeat of his rise and fall as CEO of Columbia/HCA only this time it is the State of Florida.
We are in for a long four years.