Commercial, Energy Storage, Industrial, Power Prices, Utilities, Commercial, Industrial, Solar  -  September 5, 2017

Florida utility pivots from nuclear to solar, storage

As part of a settlement agreement with the Florida Public Service Commission that allows Duke Energy Florida to abandon work on a planned, 2.2 GW nuclear plant, the utility announced a four-year plan to add 700 MW of solar generation along with electric vehicle charging stations and battery storage. 

The Duke Energy Corp. subsidiary said Aug. 29 that the settlement was developed with representatives of consumer groups and includes investments of close to $6 billion with a minimized impact on bills. If approved by the commission, the utility expects typical commercial and industrial customer bills associated with the settlement would increase in a range of 1% to 3% annually in 2019-2021; about the same as general inflation rates. 

Walking away from its work on the nuclear plant is also expected to lower customer bills, according to the company, as customers will not pay any further costs associated with the project. However, the settlement also does not include reimbursement for the approximately $800 million Duke Energy Florida customers have already paid toward the project, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, one of the consumer groups involved in the process, applauded the company for working to embrace "smart technologies" that are good for customers and the environment. 

"Large scale solar, electric vehicles and battery storage demonstrate that Duke is embracing technologies for the 21st century," Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said in a statement. "We welcome Duke's willingness to work with stakeholders on data collection and any rate design changes impacting customer- owned demand side solar."

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