Thursday, June 27, 2013

Duke Should Replace Coal-Fired Units at Crystal River with Clean Energy


June 27, 2013

Sierra Club and Earthjustice Call on Duke Energy and Florida Public Service Commission to Replace Crystal River Coal Units with Clean Energy Solutions by 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Today the Sierra Club and Earthjustice asked Duke Energy and the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) to put two coal-fired units at the Crystal River plant on a path to retirement by 2016, and to replace those units with clean energy solutions like solar power and energy efficiency that are abundant and affordable in Florida.

Duke Energy has committed to phase out the Crystal River coal-fired power plant by 2020 at the latest, because it is the cheapest option for the company and its’ customers in Florida. Retiring the plant will save $1.32 billion in retrofit costs, yet this week Duke Energy is stalling, seeking approval to change its fuel blend to reduce dangerous emissions instead of crafting an affordable, reasonable plan to phase out the units by 2016.

“The Crystal River plant has seen the end of the road,” said Kelly Martin, Beyond Coal campaign representative with the Sierra Club. “Duke Energy has shown in its own analysis that phasing out this obsolete, dirty facility is by far the best option for our pocketbooks. Retiring the plant by 2016 is the best option for our air quality, too. We don’t need four more years of pollution. Duke Energy should stop stalling, and move forward now to help Tampa Bay homes and businesses become much more efficient and to make solar power available and affordable for its customers."

The Sierra Club and Earthjustice make these requests through comments on Duke Energy’s proposed ten-year site plans, which serves as its long-range planning process for electricity generation, and which must be approved by the Public Service Commission. The company’s new proposal to keep the plant operating past its prime is risky, promotes ongoing air pollution, and delays the much-needed transition to a more diverse and affordable electricity generation mix in Florida. The Sierra Club and Earthjustice will work with the PSC to ensure that Florida ratepayers secure cleaner air along with a more efficient, reliable electricity system.

"As a responsibility to its customers, Duke Energy must make a major commitment to energy efficiency and solar electricity as the way to replace lost capacity when it retires the coal units at Crystal River,” said Frank Jackalone, director of Sierra Club’s Florida office. “Duke should not replace dirty power with more dirty power; it would be the wrong choice for our health and the environment and cost ratepayers more on their electric bills than investing in energy efficiency improvements and solar panels for our homes and businesses."

The Public Service Commission will consider new goals for both Duke Energy under the Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act in 2013, which makes this year an ideal time to plan for energy efficiency measures to replace part of the power generation from the Crystal River coal-fired units. Efficiency measures result in homes and commercial buildings using power more effectively, resulting in an equal or better standard of living and working with less overall electricity use. Utility-scale energy efficiency programs make power more affordable for low-income consumers and struggling families.

Sierra Club is America's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. Inspired by nature, we are 2.1 million of your friends and neighbors, working together to protect our communities and the planet. Read more at

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law organization dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.

Jenna Garland,
Kelly Martin,
Frank Jackalone,