Tampa, Fla. – The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) applauded Progress Energy’s plan announced Thursday to close a pair of coal plants in Florida, saying the move raises the bar for all of the state’s electric utilities.
“The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy applauds the decision to seriously consider retiring old, dirty coal plants that pollute the air and contribute heavily to global warming issues,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the alliance. “Progress Energy is taking the first steps toward developing a standard for other utilities in the Southeast to follow. Retiring these outdated plants is a positive decision that will have long-lasting impacts for Florida resident.”
However, Dr. Smith added, Progress Energy’s plan to build a new nuclear power plant is not the best solution for ratepayers.
“It should not be a foregone conclusion that a nuclear plant should take the place of two coal-fired plants at the company’s Crystal River Energy Complex in Citrus County,” said Smith.
“During these fluid times of economic uncertainty and reductions in energy demands, we believe that Florida should be moving rapidly toward strategic investment in a variety of cost-effective energy efficiency measures and that this should be coupled to the creation in 2009 of a robust renewable energy market. Once these steps are taken ratepayers can be confident that the Progress Energy plan is being implemented in the most cost-effective and flexible way.”
Today, there are 33 operating coal-fired boilers at 12 utility sites and five co-generation sites, which produce nearly 30 percent of Florida’s energy. Seminole Electric Cooperative is the only utility currently proposing a coal plant in consideration. Although SACE is confident that well managed energy efficiency programs and renewable energy solutions could avert the need for this plant and others.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy believes that both state and federal policy will lead to increased energy efficiency and renewable energy options. These investments will give policy makers maximum flexibility into the future, thus protecting energy consumers in Florida # # #