General and Florida
"It has to be in the right place," said Jane Graham of Audubon. Building the wind farm without more study of the effect on Everglades birds "equates to gambling with the future of this world-class treasure," she said.
A majority of county commissioners now are against putting wind turbines at Blind Creek Park, which sends a "strong signal" to Florida Power & Light Co. they should reconsider the site, Commission Chairman Joe Smith said Friday.
Commissioner Paula Lewis said Friday she is against FPL putting three wind machines on the state-owned land that is managed by the county. She said she was swayed by staff memos that said it would be impossible to replace the unique archaeological and ecological land lost at Blind Creek Park by the project.
"Staff's input was there was no way to replace Blind Creek," she said. "It just isn't the place." ...Grande said he thinks it's still worth having a commission meeting devoted solely to the project and said he would definitely cast a vote one way or the other at that time.
"If we turn it down, we should turn it down as quickly as possible," he said.
If a few people get their way, a few more windmills will dot the Broward landscape in the next few years -- more as a symbol of the county's agrarian roots and a nod to environmental sensitivity than a true alternative power source.
Two St. Lucie Nuclear Plant employees have raised safety concerns about wind turbines damaging the plant, but Florida Power & Light Co. officials maintain there is no danger.
The concerns are raised in internal documents from FPL that were sent anonymously to County Attorney Dan McIntyre on Thursday. ...One of the messages recommends discontinuing the project on FPL property.
A manager posted a response to the messages Aug. 23, noting the exact locations of the turbines still was to be determined and a safety study was underway.
A new study projects average wind speeds on Hutchinson Island would be strong enough for Florida Power & Light Co.'s wind turbine plan to work, the company announced Tuesday.
The study was done by WindLogics Inc., a company owned by FPL Energy, a sister company to FPL. The findings project the average wind speed would be 13.8 mph, enough to generate 13.8 megawatts of power or enough electricity for about 3,600 people, according to a company news release. ...Julie Zahniser, head of the Save St. Lucie Alliance, and others opposed to the project said they believe there is not enough wind to make the turbines economically viable, that they would be built in an environmentally-sensitive location and that it's going to devalue local properties.
Large-scale power from the sun is finally gaining traction in Florida. And FPL is building solar plants in its home state, for the first time in the company's 79-year history. ...Though solar power is an expanding part of Florida Power & Light's agenda, the three new plants will generate far less power than conventional sources.
After the three natural-gas units at West County Energy Center are complete in 2011, they will produce 3,750 megawatts of power - 34 times as much electricity as all three solar plants combined.
Three Florida Power & Light Co. wind turbines could be built amid human remains and Ais Indian artifacts that an archaeologist hired by St. Lucie County found in Blind Creek Park.
Archaeologist Bob Carr called the area a "prehistoric cemetery," though only scattered bones and no skeletons were found. Ceramic pottery and shells also were discovered.
"It was obviously a big campground," Mosquito Control Director Jim David said. "There clearly was camping and fishing and oystering there." ..."The survey was part of the state requirements before we removed exotic species with heavy equipment," David said.
The bulk of the $9.5 million raised in FPL's Sunshine Energy Program between 2004 and 2007 was paid to a contractor in Texas for salaries, office expenses, business travel, research, marketing and a public relations consultant to administer the program, according to the audit findings. Auditors estimated that the contractor, Green Mountain, has spent about $2.2 million - 25.9 percent - to purchase and develop renewable energy. ...
The Public Service Commission's probe of the program began in September with requests to the company for documents and explanations. FPL repeatedly responded by filing records under seal, saying the requested documents were "proprietary business information" and "contractual vendor data."
Florida critics of offshore oil drilling say rigs would blight Gulf of Mexico vistas.
So imagine a different kind of energy-harnessing rig looming over offshore waters: windmills hundreds of feet tall, with three-prong blades slicing through the sky to generate relatively pollution-free electricity.
The county commissioner who was most supportive of bringing wind turbines to the county is now against it.
Commissioner Chris Craft, who encouraged Florida Power & Light Co. to look at the county for its wind turbine proposal, announced during Tuesday's commission meeting that he no longer supports the project. He said his decision wasn't based on the debate over public lands but on whether it would have a net positive effect for the environment.
"I think this has been and will continue to be the most important issue we have debated on this board," Craft said.
At present, wind provides only 1 percent of U.S. electricity, but a federal report predicts the wind could be providing 20 percent of American power by 2030. ...But perhaps not in Florida. Though pleasant breezes sweep in from the ocean, several experts say the quality and location of those winds make it difficult, if not impossible, to generate much wind power here at a reasonable cost.
Florida Power & Light, whose parent is the largest supplier of wind power in the nation, insisted for years it wouldn't build a wind farm in Florida because the state's breezes weren't strong enough. That changed last year when, under pressure from Gov. Charlie Crist and the public to move toward green energy, the utility announced plans for a small wind project near the Atlantic coast in St. Lucie County.
Gov. Charlie Crist said today he is talking to Florida Power & Light about finding another location for its proposed wind turbines, but the power company said it's sticking with St. Lucie County, at least for now.
Crist said FPL should consider locations that "may not have the resistance we're seeing in St. Lucie County."
Crist said he understands St. Lucie County residents want to make sure the land used for turbines is an appropriate location.
"I can't disagree," Crist said. "I want to make sure it's appropriate too."
On Wednesday residents and environmental activists encouraged the National Park Service to purchase the tract of land FPL owns in the Everglades, rather than trading for a parcel further east.
Florida will adopt California's car-pollution standards -- the toughest in the nation -- and become the first state in the Southeast to enact targets for reducing greenhouse gases, under executive orders Gov. Charlie Crist plans to sign Friday in Miami.
Drafts of the orders released Tuesday would require the state Secretary of Environmental Protection to immediately adopt rules to limit pollution-causing emissions for cars, diesel engines and electric companies. The orders also impose tough new energy conservation goals for state agencies, demand better fuel efficiency from state-owned vehicles and require state cars to ``use ethanol and biodiesel fuels when locally available.''
But the most optimistic step in Crist's green agenda is the requirement to lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the air to 1990 levels by 2025, and reduce those levels by 80 percent by 2050, in spite of what is expected to be a near doubling of the state's population.
Florida Power & Light Company has amended applications it filed in St. Lucie County to rezone properties proposed for wind turbine locations. The amended plans will remove four turbine sites previously under consideration at John Brooks and Frederick Douglass Parks and propose placing six wind turbines on property FPL currently owns at the St. Lucie nuclear power plant. The remaining three turbines are proposed for a parcel of undeveloped state-owned land adjoining the plant’s property to the north. ...
The commission's probe of the program began in September when it asked FPL for documents and explanations of how it has spent about $10 million collected from the program's 38,000 subscribers. Again and again, FPL filed requests to keep its records confidential, saying they contain "proprietary business information" and "contractual vendor data."
But FPL records not under seal show that out-of-state renewable energy companies benefited more from the Sunshine Energy Program than did Florida companies.
"I think it's disappointing for FPL customers who fully expected and assumed they were putting their hard-earned money into developing renewable energy in Florida," said Holly Binns, field director of the nonprofit environmental group Environment Florida. "This is one example of why voluntary green energy programs aren't sufficient to develop a renewable energy economy here."
MARINELAND -- Florida Power & Light customers may plug into wind energy in Florida sometime next year if a coastal project shows promise.
Florida Power & Light can build meteorological towers to test wind speeds in western St. Lucie County.
So can anyone else as long as the towers are not more than 262 feet high and meet other standards set by the county. Whether the winds justify the creation of turbines will be a topic for another day.
FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE: FPL) and Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG) today announced they have reached a joint and amicable agreement to terminate their plans to merge.
Constellation Energy initiated a request to end the planned merger, citing continued uncertainty over regulatory and judicial matters in Maryland and the potential for a protracted and open-ended merger review process.
The power firm also raises its 2008 earnings expectations to $3.70 to $3.90 a share from the previous range of $3.60 to $3.80 per share, based on its new expectations of additional wind capacity.
FPL Energy now expects to add at least 2,000 megawatts of new wind to its portfolio by the end of 2008.
Currently, FPL Energy has more than 1,000 megawatts of new wind projects under construction, all of which are expected to reach commercial operation by the end of the year.
"FPL Group delivered very good results overall in the second quarter... despite unfavorable weather impact at both FPL Energy and FPL," the company said. "FPL's results were hurt by very weak cooling degree day comparisons, while FPL Energy's wind portfolio experienced its worst quarter in at least the last 13 years in terms of wind resource availability. Together, these weather effects amounted to over $50 million of lower earnings for the quarter.