2009 Industry Outlook
'Renewable Future': For all the talk of going green, Florida's energy mix is still heavy on coal and natural gas.
|Florida’s largest investor-owned utilities, along with their total number of residential, commercial and industrial customers:|
|Florida Power & Light
|Progress Energy Florida
|Tampa Electric Co.
|Gulf Power Co.||427,284|
|Source: Florida Public Service Commission|
Environmentalists and alternative energy companies want to spur investment in renewables. “The way to create certainty in the market is with a strong target,” says Susan Glickman, southern U.S. regional director for the Climate Group. “The focus here has got to be on jump-starting a business market.” Lawmakers should take up the PSC’s recommendations during their regular session that begins in March.
Some of the companies looking for a larger slice of the pie include Covanta, which builds waste-to-energy facilities, and Florida Crystals, which powers its massive refinery in Okeelanta with sugar cane fiber waste called bagasse. Both companies say they want to expand their generation of green power in Florida but that it’s impossible to compete with the large investor-owned utilities that want to keep the status quo.
Three new nuclear power reactors are up for various stages of approval this year: FPL’s Turkey Point 6 and Turkey Point 7, proposed 25 miles south of Miami, and Progress Energy’s Levy County plant, eight miles north of its current reactor in Crystal River. Look for nuclear energy to be a big part of the renewables debates, as well. FPL, for example, argues that nuclear should be considered “clean energy” and eligible for compliance credits under the new renewable portfolio standards. PSC staff has recommended otherwise.