Thursday, September 28, 2017

Duke Energy to spend billions on solar, EV charging, grid modernization and smart meters

On August 29, Duke Energy Florida filed a settlement that includes a four year investment of almost $6 billion into 700 megawatts of solar power and a 50 megawatt battery storage program along with smart meters and grid modernization.  The investment also includes $8 million for an electric vehicle pilot program, language for which was provided by Sierra Club staff and accepted by Duke Energy.  Sierra Club chapter staff met with Duke this week to discuss the design of the electric vehicle pilot program and will be continuing discussions in order to design the best possible program.

On August 14, the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign (BCC) legal team filed a protest to Florida Power and Light's proposed Dania Beach fracked gas plant in order to stop a massive expansion of fracked gas in Broward County. 

Additionally, the BCC legal team filed testimony before the Public Service Commission (PSC) about Investor Owned Utilities (IOU's) practice of "financial hedging" related to the price of fracked gas.

From our press release:  "Financial hedging is just another way that burning gas for electricity is a bad deal for Florida’s energy customers. Over the past 10 years, as Florida’s utilities rushed to build one gas plant after the other, financial hedging by Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, and Tampa Electric Company resulted in an extra $6.9 billion in fuel costs. 

That’s $6.9 billion out of the pockets of everyday Floridians, all to make gas look more stable than it actually is. In return, utility customers received only the insurance of knowing that their energy bills would be predictably higher than the market value."

This fall, the PSC will be holding a hearing on this issue.  Be on the lookout for a call to action on this topic!

On August 29, Sierra Club filed comments in response to the utilities Ten Year Site Plans that made the following points:  1. More gas-burning generation is not justified; 2. Continued reliance on old coal-burning generation is not justified; and 3. Renewables, storage, and demand-side resources are a bargain. Finally, the utilities must submit missing alternatives and analyses in future 10-
Year Site Plans in a transparent and timely manner. 

If you are interested in volunteering with the Beyond Coal Campaign in Florida, please email Susannah Randolph at susannah.randolph@sierraclub.org.