Articles from Florida
Progress Energy's customer surveys, presented at a conference for Wall Street analysts that the company hosted in Florida, show how far public opinion has swung in this state on combating climate change. Progress Energy, which has 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida, said public opinion virtually eliminated coal plants as an option. ..."It's important to know where customers stand, because policymakers are going to be responding to public opinion," John McArthur, the company's general counsel and senior vice president, told the analysts. ...Now Progress officials say they have a new challenge: The public may be overly optimistic about the potential for renewable energy. Though environmental advocates have said alternative energy is cheaper than building power plants, Progress executives said renewables are costly and not as dependable as power plants. "The public has unrealistic expectations about renewables," McArthur said. "They think it's twice as important as reliability."
Florida Power & Light Co. received a major boost to its wind turbine project Tuesday as the company was awarded a $2.5 million state grant. ...The $2.5 million award was the maximum amount possible through the Renewable Energy Technologies Grant Program, designed to encourage renewable energy projects involving solar, hydrogen, wind and other technologies. The wind turbine project is estimated to cost about $60.8 million.
County Attorney Dan McIntyre is recommending commissioners discuss Florida Power & Light Co.'s wind turbine proposal at a meeting in late March. ...McIntyre told County Administrator Doug Anderson in a memo that the commission should discuss the project prior to the state Acquisition and Restoration Council talking about it during its April meeting.
Recent archaeological surveys show prehistoric Indians made their homes and buried their dead along the banks of Blind Creek, an area that has drawn controversy as a possible site for wind turbines. "The area has a large number of prehistoric villages and burial areas that have somehow survived all the indignities of time," said Robert Carr, of Archaeological and Historical Conservancy Inc., who directed the study. ...The first archaeological report was released to the county in January and the second became public Friday. While these types of finds are not uncommon in Florida, they have become more unusual on barrier islands, as much of the Florida coastline has been developed in recent decades, Carr said. Radiocarbon dating was not done, but Carr estimated the finds were about 1,000 to 3,000 years old, and some could possibly be older.
Mr. Craft said between 200 and 250 people showed up at last week's county commission meeting in opposition to the wind turbines on Hutchinson Island, along with a "number of people who were for them." "I'm pretty sure that the further you get from Indian River Drive, the more support you find for the project, and we have to consider the wishes of the entire community," said Mr. Craft. "But obviously, we don't want there to be a negative impact on any group of people, and that's one of the things that is part of the process; to understand what these impacts are and, if there is a net environmental gain, whether these turbines lower people's property values." Mr. Craft said the commissioners must also consider the environmental issues that may be associated with wind turbines, such as the impact on sea turtles and trout spawning and the issue of birds flying into turbine propellers.
If the community doesn't support wind turbines in the county, Florida Power & Light Co. should move its project somewhere else, according to the governor's office. Gov. Charlie Crist has told FPL it either needs to convince residents the project is a good thing or it should find another location, said spokeswoman Erin Isaac. While the governor hasn't explicitly told the company it should get out of St. Lucie County, he has stressed that a community buy-in is needed, she said. ...Despite vocal opposition from some residents, FPL says it is sticking with its plans for the wind machines in St. Lucie County.
Now the state's largest public utility, Florida Power & Light, has proposed building a line of nine wind turbines along an Atlantic Ocean beach in St. Lucie County. But three of those turbines would be built on publicly owned land bought for conservation purposes, which has led to considerable opposition. Eric Silagy from FP&L went before St. Lucie County commissioners last week to extol the virtues of the company's plan. But there is virtually no popular support among members of the St. Lucie County community. And certainly not by environmentalists.
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."
The turbines would take up only 3 or 4 acres of dunes in the 409-acre park, FPL officials say, but to opponents like Coward that's too much. "It doesn't make any sense to me to promote green energy at the expense of our green spaces," said Coward. "I don't know that you could pick a worse site." Other commissioners are less certain about what to do, and want more information. "None of us are wind experts," said Commissioner Charles Grande, "although some of us are known for producing hot air."
Gov. Crist has committed the state to developing "green" energy that doesn't harm the environment. Now, he must direct state agencies, especially the Department of Environmental Protection, to stop approving little-tested technologies without setting standards. ...Last week, the state correctly backed off a hasty push to approve Florida Power & Light Co.'s request to build three, 40-story wind turbines on St. Lucie County public beaches. Even a planned April meeting is too soon to reconsider. FPL already plans six wind turbines on its own land. FPL has a booming wind business in other states, where turbines are inland, but little experience with coastal turbines.
"This is a test. This is only a test ..." The test I refer to involves FPL, its push for electricity-producing wind turbines on public land next to its nuclear plant, and the way government played along at first but now appears splintered. We have three players in this drama: the county, the state and, of course, FPL. Watching the trio dance, occasionally stepping on each other's toes, has been intriguing.
Florida Power & Light, the state's largest utility, wants to build a line of nine wind turbines, each more than 400 feet tall, along an Atlantic Ocean beach. ...But a coalition of environmental groups - including Audubon of Florida, the Florida Wildlife Federation and 1,000 Friends of Florida - have sent state officials a letter questioning whether the windmills will kill migrating birds and objecting to using conservation land for an industrial use. "While there are obvious benefits to considering the feasibility of wind in Florida," they wrote, "the benefits of the project do not warrant the significant wildlife impacts and bad conservation lands precedent that could result from this easement request."
Our parks should remain quiet preserves; Kennedy Space Center's security shouldn't be compromised. Even our landfills should be off limits to FPL. Private industries have no right to generate profits on public property that only their shareholders will enjoy. Solar power is local by nature. It's time for municipalities to get behind start-up companies that can keep energy dollars circulating within their community and get FPL off public assistance.
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.
Facing the possibility of two commissioners withdrawing support for its wind turbines, Florida Power & Light Co. pulled out of a planned state meeting set for today. The decision came after commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to send a letter to the state Acquisition and Restoration Council, which oversees the use of public land, telling them they shouldn't consider the turbine proposal until the county has weighed in. FPL is seeking to place six turbines on its own land on Hutchinson Island and another three on state owned land at Blind Creek Park that is leased by the county.
Florida Power & Light Co. will not go before a state agency this week to discuss its wind turbine plan, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection said Wednesday. The Acquisition and Restoration Council, a state agency affiliated with DEP that oversees the use of public conservation lands, was set to meet Thursday and Friday in Tallahassee. The item is no longer on the agenda, said Sarah Williams, a DEP spokeswoman.
St. Lucie County commissioners' support for Florida Power & Light Co.'s push to build wind turbines on public land appeared to cool during a daylong debate Tuesday. But commissioners did not vote to endorse or oppose FPL's plan to build nine electricity-producing turbines on Hutchinson Island - six on company property and three on state land managed by the county. Instead, they decided to ask the state to delay a public hearing scheduled for Thursday in Tallahassee before a state committee that will hear FPL's request to lease the Blind Creek property needed for the three turbines. They weren't optimistic that the hearing would be put off before the Acquisition and Restoration Council, an advisory committee with representatives of several state agencies.
Several commissioners asked Florida Power & Light Co. Tuesday not to present information to the state about its wind turbine project until the county weighs in on it. The company wants to place six turbines on property its own at the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant and three on state-owned land at Blind Creek Park that is leased by the county. The Acquisition and Restoration Council, a state agency affiliated with the Department of Environmental Protection that oversees the use of public conservation lands and makes recommendations on new lands for purchase, will discuss the project Thursday in Tallahassee and make a decision regarding it Friday. ...County Attorney Dan McIntyre said state officials told him there was "direction from above" to keep the turbines on the state agenda, but he thought the county should have its say before the state. McIntyre also said he didn't think having the turbines on a day agenda was the right way to go.
Let's confront an inconvenient truth. Wind turbines on Hutchinson Island will not work. What makes this statement more shocking is that Florida Power & Light is well aware of this. Then what could motivate them to proceed with a major project that will destroy the natural habitat, kill a multitude of birds, disrupt the environment, do damage to the infrastructure, and go against the wishes of the residents of Hutchinson Island? The answer is quite simple. Money. ...I personally cannot think of this practice being anything less than economic terrorism.
Residents packed commission chambers Tuesday morning in anticipation of a discussion on Florida Power & Light Co.'s proposal to put wind turbines on Hutchinson Island. The company wants to place six turbines on property it owns at the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant and three on state-owned land at Blind Creek Park that is leased by the county. The Acquisition and Restoration Council, a state agency affiliated with the Department of Environmental Protection that oversees the use of public conservation lands and makes recommendations on new lands for purchase, will discuss the project Thursday in Tallahassee and make a decision regarding it Friday. ...In an e-mail to its members, the St. Lucie Chamber of Commerce recommended the commissioners not make a decision Tuesday, but wait until they have more information on the project.