Library from Florida
FPL wants to build six turbines at Hutchinson Island, where it operates a pair of nuclear generators on waterfront property. Some of the turbines would be on FPL's property and the rest on an adjacent county-owned park, if the county approves. ...According to FPL, though, the Sunshine State and most of the Southeast don't have sustained winds that are strong enough to generate electricity except within a half-mile of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from North Carolina to Texas. A fact sheet from subsidiary FPL Energy LLC shows average winds range between 11.5 and 14.3 mph along the coasts, but drop to less than 12.5 mph everywhere else in the southeastern states.
John Brooks fought hard to keep parts of Hutchinson Island in its natural state, free of golf courses and condos, his daughter says. Now Dickie Brooks worries a proposal to place wind turbines on the island in public parks — one named for her father — could go against the spirit of his conservation efforts. "My concern is that various people, my father included, have managed to purchase and preserve a very limited number of miles of Florida beach in its natural state for public use," Dickie Brooks said. "I really am opposed to any use of those beach properties which doesn't directly benefit the public's enjoyment of the quintessential Florida beach experience."
As much as Florida needs more clean energy alternatives, giant windmills don't belong on St. Lucie County beaches that were bought with public money to preserve. Florida Power & Light Co., whose representatives are lobbying county commissioners, wants to put five wind turbines on the company's property near the utility's nuclear plant on Hutchinson Island. ...Commissioner Doug Coward supports clean energy, but he correctly questions the legality of using public land for private profit. He also worries that the windmills could "change the character of the landscape" and prevent people from enjoying the rare South Florida experience of less-developed beaches.
First it was the coal-fired plant they tried to build in western St. Lucie County, until residents had a hissy, which forced them to try again in Glades County, where more hissy fits followed and, with encouragement from state officials, they officially threw in the towel. Under pressure to find a source of more electricity, preferably one that might not pollute the air, the utility is looking hard at harnessing the power of wind. Which is a noble thing. But noble goes only so far.
Florida Power & Light Co. wants to put some of its proposed windmills on beach property owned by St. Lucie County as well as on company-owned land near the nuclear power plant on South Hutchinson Island, a company official said Wednesday.
But despite its success for investors, wind power has some way to go before being a major part of the U.S. energy supply. Although the country has seen rapid growth in wind power over the past three years, the technology provides less than 1 percent of the nation's electricity. ... The issue has split the environmental community. Although the emission-free technology is cleaner than coal, oil and natural gas, for certain conservationists the impact on nature is too severe to overlook.
Driscoll said the ocean energy has the potential to supply the world's energy demands thousands of times over, significantly reducing greenhouse gases within 10 years, and long-term, creating thousands of jobs for a highly skilled work force, changing the state from an energy importer to energy exporter. Research must still be done to determine the impact on sea life, he added.
"We're working with the county's Growth Management Department on what the requirements are for getting permits," said Nick Blount, FPL's Treasure Coast spokesman. He said St. Lucie County was selected because of wind conditions here, but the company doesn't expect to generate a lot of electricity. "We don't expect the wind turbines to turn but about 20 percent of the time," he said. "That's why there are no wind mills in the southeast and the closest is in West Virginia. "Windmills will never be a sole source of power," he said.
But what if you're an electric company and you need to get more mileage out of your power plants because you can't build the new coal plant you were counting on? For Florida Power & Light Co., the state's largest utility, that's the multibillion-dollar question: How to keep the juice flowing to what in a few years will be a customer base of 10 million people - 10 million people who run the air conditioner almost all year long and who are attached to all sorts of electronic gadgets......Attractive as renewables might be, they've got a long way to go to make up a substantial part of FPL's energy supply. For instance, the company would need 8,000 wind turbines or 20 square miles of solar photovoltaic panels to equal the amount of power that would have been generated by the proposed Glades County coal plant. "Ultimately, it's a small amount of generation," said Bedley of Apex Power.
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.
NEW YORK - Companies investing in renewable energy may begin asking a familiar question following FPL Group Inc.'s second-quarter results: What happens when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine? Though the utility company's earnings rose 72 percent to $405 million, and analysts are still saying "Buy," according to Thomson Financial's consensus estimates, FPL faced the worst weather conditions in 13 years for its wind-energy division. The wind factor cut FPL's profit by $50 million. "The only real negative in the quarter was the poor wind resource," said FPL Chief Financial Officer Moray Dewhurst during a conference call.
Gov. Charlie Crist's push to be green could mean more nuclear plants in Florida. The word "nuclear" does not appear in any of the three executive orders Crist signed at the close of his global warming summit Friday ordering tighter vehicle emission standards and a reduction of greenhouse gases. But he, as well as power utilities, are planning for more nuclear energy in the future. And the sweeping greenhouse gas reductions Crist embraced this week may solidify more nuclear power as a cornerstone of Florida's energy policy.
Six of the nation's 10 largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions are coal-fired power plants in the South, but year after year Southern lawmakers balk at pushing utilities toward cleaner renewable energy. Last month, Republican senators from the South provided about half the votes that defeated federal legislation to require power companies to get 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Nationally, almost half the states have adopted their own renewable mandates, but only one, Texas, is in the South. Southern lawmakers -- responding to heavy lobbying from local utilities -- argue their region isn't conducive to solar or wind power like the sun-baked Southwest or the open plains of the West.
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.
FPL has looked for good Florida sites for wind power since 2005, Ms. Bennett said, and Hutchinson Island "looks like it's worth pursuing." FPL "wants to coexist as good environmental stewards," and will work with all agencies to avoid impact on birds and wildlife. That's good to know, because the information available about wind energy and wildlife indicates that some impact - literally - is inevitable.
The wind may be blowing hard enough in Florida to produce electricity after all. Florida Power & Light Co. said Thursday it intends to explore building a wind-power project near the coastline of St. Lucie County.
Some call it a carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels, but others point to significant environmental costs. In Kansas, where winds blow strong, the push for clean energy includes not only new wind turbines but also new nuclear-power plants as part of a "carbon-free" solution to climate change. It's an idea that may be catching on. At least 11 new nuclear plants are in the design stage in nine states, including Virginia, Texas, and Florida, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute website. But that carbon-free pitch has researchers asking anew: How carbon-free is nuclear power? And how cost-effective is it in the fight to slow global warming? "Saying nuclear is carbon-free is not true," says Uwe Fritsche, a researcher at the Öko Institut in Darmstadt, Germany, who has conducted a life-cycle analysis of the plants. "It's less carbon-intensive than fossil fuel. But if you are honest, scientifically speaking, the truth is: There is no carbon-free energy. There's no free lunch."
FPL Group, whose Florida Power & Light utility is the state’s largest, has expanded by purchasing nuclear plants and building wind farms.
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.
Ten months after the St. Lucie County Commission denied Florida Power & Light an opportunity to build a coal power plant, the Glades County Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved the project. If the state signs off on the deal, the coal power plant would be the first of its kind in the country, FPL said, because it would use new, more environmentally friendly technology that would emit fewer pollutants......FPL said the plant is needed in a state where almost 1,000 new residents move in every day, and where the cost of natural gas, another source of electricity, continues to rise. The plant would also make service more reliable, FPL officials said.