Tag Archives: Suwannee River

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.

-jsq

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Videos: Sewage, Coal Ash, Historic Preservation, a dead cat, and turkeys @ VCC 2016-03-09

The Valdosta City Council heard from citizens about coal ash, wastewater, and toxic waste in the landfill. Mayor John Gayle offered to answer later in his office Eric Howard’s question about wastewater in his yard. The Mayor expressed his opinion that he and the council couldn’t do anything about the landfill, and read for yourself what he said about the Florida county resolutions about Valdosta wastewater. George Boston Rhynes told a droll tale about a dead cat and turkeys.

The Historic Preservation appeal was long and contentious, with the Mayor twice breaking a tie because only four City Council members were there: the appeal was approved. A citizen spoke about that afterwards, as did Council Tim Carroll.

Council Robert Yost recommended all the Hospital Authority Board should resign.

They unanimously approved both of the rezoning items; ditto the right of way maintenance bids.

And Firefighter Michael Penland is employee of the month.

Below are links to the LAKE video of each item, with a few notes (some drawn from Valdosta’s own SUMMARY OF ACTIONS), followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda.

Brief agenda plus Water @ VCC 2016-03-09

No water on the agenda, but there’s a WWALS event for those who want to speak about water issues.

AGENDA
REGULAR MEETING OF THE VALDOSTA CITY COUNCIL
5:30 PM Thursday, March 9, 2017
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL

Valdosta City Council

  1. Opening Ceremonies Continue reading

Pipelines companies don’t detect corrosion or stop explosions

A reminder of why to stop pipeline companies from burying investors’ money in the ground and get on with solar power: the pipeline that exploded in Texas last week was half owned by Spectra Energy, the pipeline company behind Sabal Trail, AIM, Penneast, and numerous other fracked methane invasions and behind thirty years of undetected corrosion resulting in leaks, explosions, property damage, and deaths. The pipeline company didn’t detect it and couldn’t even turn it off quickly. Want to bet that it, like Spectra’s Pennsylvania explosion last spring, was corrosion?

A very Texas report said “no people or cattle were injured” and also notice: “The fire is under control and will burn itself out.” Continue reading

Florida state-owned uplands crossed by Sabal Trail

FDEP is fine with Sabal Trail boring through the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway in Marion County, FL, Marjorie Carr Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area, FLORIDA NATIONAL SCENIC TRAIL, Marion Co., FL as well as drilling under Suwannee River State Park in Hamilton and Suwannee County, FL.

For that Greenway, see the maps shown here (click on any one of them for a larger image), pulled from Sabal Trail’s Continue reading

Sabal Trail protests continue –VDT 2016-09-23

Front page today in the newspaper of record in the largest city in the Suwannee River Basin: the WWALS protest against DAPL and Sabal Trail at the US 84 Withlacoochee River bridge last Saturday, between Quitman and Valdosta, GA.

Vdt Desiree Carver, Valdosta Daily Times, Friday, September 23, 2016, front page, Sabal protests continue,

The WWALS Watershed Coalition stood on the bridge between Brooks and Lowndes County Saturday to show solidarity with Dakota Access Pipeline opponents in Dakota and to continue its battle against the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline.

That’s the US 84 bridge over the Withlacoochee River, on the Continue reading

Yoho hikes Sabal Trail pipeline route

Calling on Austin Scott GA-08 and Sanford Bishop GA-02 and other members of Congerss to also ask the Corps for a Supplementary Environmental Impact Study (SEIS) about Sabal Trail discrepancies. Same story appeared in the Suwannee Democrat yesterday.

Page 5A Thomas Lynn, Valdosta Daily Times, 17 May 2016, Yoho hikes Sabal Trail pipeline route,

LIVE OAK. Fin. — US. Rep. Ted Yoho hiked with around 30 opponents to the Sabal Trail pipeline through Suwannee River State Park’s Big Oak Trail in north Florida to look at sinkholes near the proposed route.

The morning hike was a result of Continue reading

Sabal Trail bad for VSU, rivers, animals, landowners, and community: to FERC in Valdosta 2015-09-30

Sinkholes, explosions, and other risks to our rivers, lands, and wildlife for no benefit from the Sinkhole Trail, plus FERC and its environmental contractor are paid by the pipeline companies, but still we can win, said local landowners and others to FERC in Valdosta last night, as you can see in these LAKE videos. And you can come to the Kayaktivism Day this Saturday several Valdosta State clubs are holding on the Withlacoochee River. Meanwhile, the FERC circus moves to Columbia High School in Live Oak, FL tonight. Continue reading

Let’s stop Sabal Trail before it makes any more mistakes

Thanks to Julie Bowland for the picture of my VDT op-ed today. -jsq

jsq op-ed in VDT The same day the Sabal Trail was quoted in the VDT August 5th as saying it had done enough subsurface analysis on our fragile karst limestone topography, a sinkhole opened up next to Shiloh Road. Sabal Trail already had to move its Albany compressor station because arrowheads had been found there. The pipeline itself is a much bigger mistake: let’s stop it before it damages our property values, forests, rivers, or our people.

Spectra Energy’s paid staff are continue to assert that Sabal Trail’s proposed gouge through our fields, farms, and under our rivers will proceed according their plan to profit executives and investors in Houston, Texas.

Actually, Continue reading

Hamilton County, FL Commission considers opposing FL-DEP Sabal Trail permit 2015-07-21

Local resident Chris Mericle asked his county commission to once again oppose the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline, this time by opposing a permit the Florida Department of Environmental Protection proposes to issue for Sabal Trail to bore under the Suwannee River and other sovereign submerged lands and wetlands of Florida.

This time, Continue reading