Orwell and Kafka are Alive and Well and Working in Tallahassee at the
PSC: Expand 'Clean Energy': The Staff of the State's Public Service
Commission Has Recommended Redefining Renewable Energy to Help Meet a Goal
Set By Gov. Charlie Crist
Jan 03 - The Miami Herald
If Florida wants to meet the governor's goal of having 20 percent of all
electrical power come from renewable energy by 2020, the cheapest and
easiest way to do it is to change the definition of renewable to include
nuclear and clean coal.
This is one recommendation included in a 100-plus page report filed on
Wednesday by the staff of the Public Service Commission.
The report reiterated a previous recommendation that the state try to get to
20 percent renewables by 2041 but control consumers' costs by making sure
that the requirement not increase billing charges by more than 2 percent --
a limit that many environmentalists believe will make it extremely difficult
to get to 20 percent renewables.
At present, according to federal statistics, 1.9 percent of power in Florida
comes from renewables. Almost all of that is from biomass and hydroelectric
Gov. Charlie Crist has said repeatedly that he would like to see the state
get to 20 percent by 2020. To do that, the staff said the best way to
minimize costs to utility customers would be by expanding renewables to
"Energy from new nuclear facilities and uprates approved by the Commission
"Energy from IGCC [coal] with carbon capture and sequestration plans. . . .
"Energy savings from efficiency improvements to existing utility generation.
"Savings associated with customer energy efficiency programs."
The staff acknowledged that this suggestion would mean that parts of the law
would need to be rewritten, redefining renewable energy as "clean energy,"
which could include nuclear and clean coal.
Such a standard "could make it easier" for Florida's investor-owned
utilities to meet a more aggressive requirement, the staff wrote.
Most environmentalists have been adamantly opposed to expanding the
definition to include nuclear power and "clean coal."
Florida Power & Light has advocated for months the need to include nuclear
as part of a clean portfolio standard.
On Friday, FPL spokesman Mayco Villafana e-mailed the utility's support for
the concept: "The staff recommendation recognizes that if the objective of a
Renewable Portfolio Standard policy is to maximize the reduction of
greenhouse gas emissions in the most cost-effective manner, then it is
appropriate to include all clean energy sources.
"With a clean-energy standard that includes new nuclear generation as well
as wind and solar, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce costs,
dampen fuel price volatility for customers and meet aggressive targets that
should ultimately be adopted by the state," Villafana said.
David E. Bruderly PE
Clean Power Engineering
Wise Gas Inc.
920 SW 57th Drive
Gainesville FL 32607-3838