Tag Archives: Duke Energy

Duke Energy solar: NC, SC, and now Florida

Duke’s new solar farms in Florida echo what Duke was already doing three and a half years ago when an independent study concluded more solar power in North Carolina would save utility ratepayers tens of millions of dollars annually.


Duke solar power farm in Perry, Florida, courtesy Duke Energy

John Downey, Charlotte Business Journal, 23 October 2013, Study: Solar benefits outweigh costs in NC,

It notes the gains from solar projects — such as lower transmission and distribution costs, avoided emissions, lower losses of electricity in transmission. The study calculates that such benefits outweigh the costs by 30 percent to 40 percent.

The utility buying most of that solar power in North Carolina is none other than Duke Energy. Parcel 25-01S-11E-1090700.0000 In Florida, Duke just got approval from the Suwannee Board of County Commissioners to build a 62-acre 8.8 MW solar plant next to its Suwannee Power Plant, while shutting down some old natural gas generating turbines, and keeping some newer ones going.

As we learned only a week before at a meeting about the Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) required by the Florida legislature, nitrogen runoff from fertilizers is a huge problem in the Suwannee River Basin, and needs to be reduced 80-90% from every source. Duke Energy (or even FPL) could buy power from distributed solar farms on 1030 more acres in Suwannee County and produce enough power to shut down the rest of its gas turbines at that Suwannee River facility, while generating enough power for twice the number of households in Suwannee County. That would remove power plant emissions and use of cooling water, while helping solve the BMAP problem.

No, I’m not recommending cutting down trees for solar panels. Rooftop solar power and solar panels on marginal farmland would make far more sense. As even Duke says, solar panels produce “little to no waste”, which means no fertilizer or pesticide runoff from them. Graze cows, sheep, or goats around them, and the farmer has income from both the solar panels and the livestock, while still needing no pesticides to control weeds. That’s what Sandy Hill Solar of Elm City, North Carolina does, and the utility buying their power is Duke Energy.

Duke by February 2015 had expanded its solar buying into South Carolina, and by October 2015 announced a new solar farm near Perry, Florida, Duke’s second such project in Florida, and operational in Perry by September 2016. Funny how solar plants can go online in less than a year, unlike the three-year-plus permitting process of interstate natural gas pipelines.

The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) lists numerous studies about the cost-effectiveness of solar power, including that North Carolina 2013 report, now with a copy on the LAKE website. SEIA also lists one for Virginia which is on the MDV-SEIA website, and now also has a copy on the LAKE website.

For Georgia SEIA lists the testimony of GSEIA before the Georgia Public Service Commission in 2013. See also other testimony at that same GA-PSC session, which resulted in GA-PSC requiring Georgia Power to buy twice as much solar power as it wanted to. GA-PSC did the same again in 2015, which was also the year Georgia Power finally stopped its dozen-year-long objections to fixing a 1970s law, and actively backed a 2015 version of that solar financing bill, which passed unanimously in the Georgia Senate and was signed by the same Georgia governor who had accepted campaign finance contributions from multiple pipeline company PACs. After the bill became law, Georgia Power started selling solar power.

Georgia Power’s parent company Southern Company is also installing solar power in the Florida panhandle through its subsidiary Gulf Power, including three projects at military bases totalling 120 MW.

All that is without even comparing solar power to natural gas pipelines such as Sabal Trail. I did that comparison, and I’m still watiing for somebody to show me any flaws in my arithmetic, which shows that FPL’s ratepayers, now stuck with a $3.2 billion bill for the Sabal Trail boondoggle, could get five times as much electricity through solar power at that price.

For Florida SEIA lists only a very old (2003) study with a broken link, which can be found as a google book, but now would mostly be worthwhile as a museum piece. Duke’s own actions in Florida in 2016 and 2017 indicate Duke Energy knows the sun is rising even on the Sunshine State.

Sure, Duke is going too slow (although not as slow as FPL). Duke’s “strategic, long-range plan to install 35 megawatts of universal solar by 2018, and up to 500 megawatts in the state by 2024” is pocket change for peanuts. Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson’s research project has spelled out what Florida (and each other U.S. state) needs in solar, wind, and water power to run everything, depicted on thesolutionsproject.org and backed up by a hundred-plus-page report.

The people of Florida are demanding more solar power. Tens of millions of dollars in fossil fuel and utility money didn’t convince the voters of Florida to support a fake solar amendment last November. The sun is rising, even on the Sunshine State. All the dirty dollars and all the bought politicians can’t stop it.

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America’s largest college mutual fund VA529 owns Spectra Energy, a stranded investment

Parents and grandparents buy 529 college savings plans as safe investments, so VA529 chose poorly in Spectra Energy, the very risky company behind the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline now plowing through the Floridan Aquifer drinking water of south Alabama, Georgia, and all of Florida and under the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers against growing opposition. Maybe you’d like to mention that to Mary G. Morris, the Chief Executive Officer of Virginia529 College Savings Plan, the biggest mutual fund investor in both Spectra Energy and in Enbridge, which is buying Spectra. There’s a handy VA529 contact form or you can call or write:

1-804-371-0766
Toll-Free: 1-888-567-0540
9001 Arboretum Parkway
North Chesterfield, VA 23236

Spectra is so risky it just sold itself so Enbridge would take on about $22 billion of Spectra debt. Debt especially racked up since Continue reading

Many same investors in Sabal Trail and Dakota Access Pipeline

DAPL and Sabal Trail are more intertwined than we thought. But first, who are the institutional investors in the three Sabal Trail partners? Three Banks NASDAQ makes this easy to discover, and the answer is in the first table below: among banks State Street and Bank of America stand out.

Let’s not forget Williams Company, of the Transco Hillabee Expansion Project from which Sabal Trail wants to get its fracked methane; see the second table, which State Street clearly wins, and there’s Goldman Sachs.

We learned this week that Enbridge of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) opposed by the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota: that Enbridge is buying Spectra Energy of Sabal Trail.

But there’s more! Last year Williams was bought by Energy Transfer Equity, which is the main backer of DAPL.

Update 2016-09-26: Actually, Energy Transfer backed out of buying Williams Co..

See the third table, which shows banks bought into at least five of the partner entities: Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.

Opponents of Sabal Trail are not just fighting the same industry as DAPL: they’re fighting many of the same companies and the same investors.

Investors in Sabal Trail partners (Spectra Energy, NextEra Energy, Duke Energy)

Continue reading

Southern Company buying half of SONAT from KMI

SO is buying 50% of SONAT from KMI, as multiple people have pointed out, including someone from Southern Company. SO: SONAT in the Southeast Unfortunately SO is not just investing in existing pipelines: this purchase is about “specific growth opportunities”, and yes, it’s tied to SO’s recent purchase of AGL. Southern Company needs to stop plugging dying 20th century fossil fuels and get on with what it’s already started with solar power (and offshore wind).

Southern Company PR 10 July 2016, Southern Company, Kinder Morgan enter Southern Natural Gas pipeline strategic venture, Continue reading

Solar price drops setting invisible price limit for ever-dirtier fossil fuel extraction

A fairly insightful piece on the how oil price rises drive more fossil fuel production, currently fueled by debt because wages of most workers have been falling, still misses two big points: solar prices continually plumetting now undercut all fossil fuel prices, and dirtier fossil fuel extraction and its massive colonial invasion of pipelines are meeting resistance everywhere, including at the regulatory-captured puppet agencies like FERC.

“Tyler Durden”, ZeroHedge, 13 May 2016, Submitted by Gail Tverberg via Our Finite World blog, The Real Oil Limits Story – What Other Researchers Missed, Continue reading

Duke to build solar in Perry, Taylor County, Florida

Still citing clouds after Georgia has become the fastest-growing solar market in the U.S., and ignoring one of its own earlier Florida solar installations, not to mention its numerous ones in North Carolina, Duke Energy Florida takes a baby step of a 5 megawatt solar installation in Florida.

Susan Salisbury, Palm Beach Post, 15 October 2015, Duke Energy to construct solar facility in North Florida,

Duke Energy Florida Thursday announced plans to construct a new solar facility in Perry, which is in Taylor County in the Big Bend region.

This will be the second Continue reading

Solar power for military bases in Florida: Gulf Power, a Southern Company

Southern Company solar farms at military bases are not just for Georgia anymore; SO subsidiary Gulf Power is building more and bigger ones in Florida.

Gulf Power, Solar Energy Farms,

Gulf Power is partnering with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force to build solar energy farms at three different facilities across Northwest Florida. The projects could be in service as early as December 2016.

“This is an important collaboration between Gulf Power, the Navy and the Air Force,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power president and CEO. “As military installations seek solutions to promote renewable energy generation, we have worked alongside our military customers to help provide cost-effective solutions — and all our customers will reap the benefit.”

HelioSage and Gulf Power, PRNewsWire, 22 January 2015, HelioSage & Gulf Power Announce 120 Megawatts of Solar in Florida: Landmark projects will span three sites through partnership with Navy and Air Force, Continue reading

Land is not just money: appeal tax valuations today

Appeal today if you think there’s more to land (or business) and woods and fields and streams than money, unlike the Tax Assessors, whose revaluation would drive development into agricultural areas of the county where it doesn’t belong, while avoiding populated areas such as the south side of Valdosta. We can expect pipeline companies and utilities from other states to think nothing of pillaging our lands for their profit. We shouldn’t expect that of our neighbors whom we elected Tax Asssessors. If you have affection for your land, your county, your neighborhood, today’s the deadline to appeal your valuation. And there will be an election later.

As Wendell Berry said,

Whatever has happened in what economists call “the economy,” it is generally true that the land economy has been discounted or ignored.

Are the Tax Assessors boomers? Are you a sticker? Wendell Berry explains: Continue reading

Southern Company and Duke backing solar Florida

Are all the fracking utitilies finally seeing the sunlight? By Backing solar power in Florida, are Duke, Southern Company, TECO, and even FPL’s parent NextEra hedging their bets, or finally realizing where the future is?

Reem Nasr, CNBC, 12 June 2015, The sleeping giant of the solar industry: Florida,

Duke Energy Florida told CNBC that it “is a strong supporter of solar energy and we are committed to helping to grow solar in Florida.” Last month it announced an additional 500 megawatts of solar facilities by 2024, among other solar projects.

Meanwhile in May Duke Energy of Charlotte, North Carolina bought 7.5% of Sabal Trail, along with Spectra Energy of Houston and NextEra Energy of Juno Beach, Florida.

Southern Co., which owns Florida’s Gulf Power, said the following:

Continue reading

Atlanta TV station exposes ALEC lobbyists in Savannah

Caught on-camera: ALEC’s off-duty sheriff’s deputies getting TV reporters thrown out of their own hotel for “taking pictures in the hotel”, after ALEC’s marketing droid denied any lobbying going on, nevermind the lobbyist and legislator in a bar spelling out how it works: ALEC gives “scholarships” to legislators who then meet in closed rooms with corporate reps (including all the companies involved in the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline) who have equal votes on draft bills for legislators to get passed as law in many states. Bills promoting fracking, pipelines, LNG export, and against solar power, renewable portfolio standards, not to mention for private prisons and privatized education and against municipal broadband and country-of-origin labelling, plus many other corporate give-aways subsidized by the taxpayers and the environment. It’s time for the IRS to revoke ALEC’s 501(c)(3) status. And for the Georgia legislature to apply the state’s sunshine laws to itself.

Brendan Keefe and Michael King, WXIA-TV, 22 May 2015, Legislators and corporate lobbyists meet in secret at Georgia resort, Continue reading