TECO joins Duke and FPL building solar in Florida 2018-10-29

Solar in Florida is not just for Duke and FPL anymore: Tampa Electric is building 260 megawatt hours of solar power, and the Florida PSC and Office of Public Counsel are praising it for reducing coal and natural gas burning. Even FPSC, which approved the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline boondoggle only five years ago, is starting to look up and see the sun in the Sunshine State.

Michael Moline, FloridaPolitics.com, 29 October 2018, Tampa Electric wins PSC clearance for solar power projects,

Tampa Electric solar projects

The Public Service Commission approved a deal Monday that allows Tampa Electric Co. to build five solar-generating plants and pass along the $46 million tab to its ratepayers.

Note that’s million with a letter m, not like the billions FPL is charging its customers for Sabal Trail.

The hit to the average homeowner will be $2.46 cents, effective on Jan. 1. Customers would be entitled to refunds if any of the projects are delayed.

Have you ever heard of refunds for late installation for pipeline or nuclear projects? Me, neither. And this clause is unlikely to be invoked for these solar projects, because they’re straightforward to build on time and within budget, unlike pipeline or nuclear projects.

Here’s the sea change in official opinion on solar projects:

Under the settlement agreement between TECO and the Office of Public Counsel, customers also could save money on natural gas and coal the utility no longer would need to burn.

“All the power that’s generated from the solar facilities, obviously, Tampa Electric has to purchase less fuel to generate power from their other facilities,” Public Counsel J.R. Kelly said following the vote.

That’s right, solar is good because it can shut down coal and gas power plants.

PSC Chairman Art Graham praised the deal.

“TECO’s solar projects increase Florida’s renewable development, which is good for the economy, as well as the environment,” Graham said in a written statement.

“Today’s approval benefits customers with a solar plan that allows TECO’s retail rates to be among the lowest in Florida.”

The same FPSC that rubberstamped Sabal Trail because of alleged need for fracked methane for power in Florida now lauds solar power as good for the economy, the environment, and power company customers’ pocketbooks. The world is changing!

The Tampa Electric now building solar plants is the “principal subsidiary” of the same TECO Energy for which Kinder Morgan built its Jacksonville Expansion Project (JEP) of the Florida Gas Transmission (FGT) fracked methane pipeline from Sabal Trail in Suwannee County, through the site of the proposed HPS II phosphate mine in Union and Bradford Counties, to Jacksonville, site of Eagle LNG and Crowley Maritime with its Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) export authorizations.

Looks like all the pipeline-pushing utilities are gradually realizing the sun is rising on the Sunshine State.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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