Thursday, September 26, 2013

Duke Energy to Delay Clean Energy Development, Keep Sending Energy Dollars out of Florida

View this press release online:

September 26, 2013
CONTACT: Jenna Garland, Sierra Club, (404) 281-6398,

Duke Energy to Delay Clean Energy Development, Keep Sending Energy Dollars out of Florida
St. Petersburg, FL – Duke Energy issued a request for proposals yesterday seeking options to generate electricity to replace the nuclear generators at the Crystal River plant.  Duke Energy also operates two aging and obsolete coal-fired generators at the plant, and the utility has told state regulators it plans to phase out these coal units sometime before 2020, as the units are now too expensive to operate and require substantial upgrades. The Sierra Club has filed expert comments to state regulators arguing that Duke Energy can, and should, phase out these coal units faster and replace them with clean energy solutions like energy efficiency and solar power.

In response to Duke Energy’s announcement, Julia Hathaway, Sierra Club Beyond Coal representative in Florida, issued the following statement:
"Duke Energy has taken a strong step in planning to phase out coal burning units at its Crystal River Power Plant before 2020, but the company’s new request for proposals to replace the power is a step in the wrong direction.
Duke Energy relies too heavily on natural gas power for Florida, and as with coal, burning natural gas for power sends Florida’s energy dollars out of state. If natural gas prices increase at some point over the next few years, power prices will also go up, hurting Florida’s economy.
The Sierra Club calls on Duke Energy to replace the Crystal River coal units with affordable clean energy as quickly as possible. Florida has some of the world’s highest solar power potential, yet solar represents less than one percent of Duke Energy’s electricity production here. That’s shameful and inadequate.
Florida also has significant potential to save money and meet energy demand through large-scale energy savings programs. In other states, Duke Energy is investing more in energy savings too. There’s a pattern here: Duke Energy is bringing more clean energy solutions online in other states and leaving Florida behind. It’s time to move beyond business as usual and invest in Florida in a positive way that supports our families and economy."