Hot off the press, and more to follow as it’s available. From the Tallahassee Democrat:

Regulators deny Southwest Florida coal plant

By Jim Ash
Florida Capital Bureau Chief

TALLAHASSEE — The Public Service Commission this afternoon voted unanimously to deny Florida Power & Light’s application for a $5.7 billion, coal-fired power plant 68 miles from Everglades National Park.

Members voted 4-0, with new Commissioner Nancy Argenziano not taking part. The utility regulatory board was charged with deciding whether there was a need for more power and whether it would be economically feasible for its customers.

The decision follows public hearings in April that drew protests from environmental groups. Among the 31 witnesses at those hearings were three Glades County Commissioners who said the plant is desperately needed to create jobs and economic growth.

Opponents argued the plant would contribute to global warming and pollute the famous River of Grass at a time when the state and federal government are spending more than $10 billion to clean it up.

Here’s something with more details from the Palm Beach Post:

PSC rejects FPL’s coal plant in Glades County

By Kristi E. Swartz
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

UPDATED: 4:11 p.m. June 05, 2007

TALLAHASSEE — The Public Service Commission today unanimously denied the Florida Power & Light Co.’s request to build a coal-fired plant in Glades County.

Regulators said they rejected the twin-unit 1960-megawatt coal-fired plant five miles northwest of Moore Haven because the nearly $6 billion project wasn’t cost-effective for consumers.

The decision came after a three-hour debate over whether it was worth it for FPL, the state’s largest utility, to spend a massive amount of money on a coal-fired plant in an attempt to diversify its fuel supply — even though it would still get the majority of its fuel from natural gas.

The bottom line was no.

“The 1,960-megawatt Little Engine That Could that’s going to save the day, I’m having problems with that,” newly appointed PSC Commissioner Nathan Skop said today. “Any diversity is good, but we need to think about having a more comprehensive plan,” he said, referring to nuclear power.

The vote was 4-0 against the plant, with new Commissioner Nancy Argenziano declining to vote, saying she had not had enough time to study the issue.

“The Public Service Commission today made the right decision for the environment, the right decision for the Everglades and the right decision for Florida,” Gov. Charlie Crist said in a statement. “I have been concerned about both the proposed technology and the location of the Glades Power Park.” This is the second time FPL has tried to build a coal-fired power plant in two years. The first project, for southwest St. Lucie County, didn’t make it past the county commission.

FPL, which serves 4.4 million residential and business consumers, said it needs to produce additional electricity to support the state’s growth. It has chosen coal because of the push from the legislature and PSC to move away from natural gas.

In fact, when the utility went before the PSC seeking approval to build what is now the West County Energy Center, a natural gas-fired plant in western Palm Beach County, regulators told FPL that its next planned power plant should produce coal.

Environmentalists, however, have challenged the plant since the first day, saying that FPL could do more to conserve energy and not have to build another plant for several years.

“We applaud the commission’s decision, and with this coal proposal off the table, Florida can now focus on harnessing its vast energy efficiency and renewable energy potential,” said Susan Glickman, a consultant for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Natural Resource Defense Counsel.

That regulators said “no” to a proposed power plant came as a shock to some observers.

“I can’t remember the last time the PSC denied a needs determination case,” said Holly Binns, field director for the Tallahassee-based Environment Florida.

Had the commission approved the project, FPL still would have had to obtain permits from the state’s environmental protection department and then final approval from Crist and the Cabinet. Crist, known for his environmental advocacy, has often said he was concerned about FPL’s project because of its potential impacts on the nearby Everglades as well as the rest of the state.

He has also encouraged FPL to consider alternative forms of fuel such as wind or solar.

As of 3:30 p.m., FPL representatives had not yet provided a comment.

Earlier, Commissioner Matthew Carter II indicated he wouldn’t support the plant.

“There is little doubt that the growth in FPL’s territory warrants electricity, but does that electricity need to come from pulverized coal? No, FPL can generate this from natural gas,” Carter said.

Carter’s take on the project — an ultra-supercritical pulverized-coal plant that was planned to open in 2013 — came after a deluge of questions from the newly appointed Skop to the PSC staff about whether building one large coal plant would do anything to help diversify FPL’s fuel supply, the majority of which comes from natural gas. If the proposed plant is built, the percentage of fuel that FPL gets from natural gas will be around 60 percent. If the plant isn’t built, the percentage will be 70. “Going from 60 to 70 percent is a big swing,” PSC staffer Tom Ballinger said. “We’re not going to change fuel diversity overnight, but FPL is going to have to start somewhere.” The Florida legislature has been pushing the PSC and the state’s utilities to look at coal, nuclear and renewable forms of energy to get away from pricey natural gas. “This is a landmark decision that will have a profound impact on Florida’s energy policy,” Skop said.

2 Responses to “Glades Coal Plant Proposal DOWN IN FLAMES”

  1. Alan Muller Says:

    I don’t want to contribute to any backbiting, but it’s hard not to notice that a Sierra release (I assume it is a Sierra release) on this victory compliments and greenwashes NRDC–for instance–while giving no credit to the Krasowskis (Alliance For Clean Florida).

    Bob and Jan have been watchdogs in Southwest FL for a long time. They chased a garbage burner out of Collier County in the mid 80s and another one more recently. Thousands of people’s health has been protected through their efforts….. If all 3,141 counties in the US had a Bob and Jan, we’d be a lot better off….

    AS intervenors in this matter, they took a firm position against ANY new coal and for conservation and efficiency.

    We all know NRDC has been ambivalent, at best, about saying “no” to coal, as opposed to promoting IGCC as an acceptable alternative. They aren’t the only ones. I wonder, at this point, what lessons should be learned from recent defeats of the coalers in MN, FL, DE, and elsewhere. Maybe its time for the compromisers to stop taking coal-connected money, self-purify, and get with a straight program???

  2. Carol A. Overland Says:

    Straight program? I take it you mean NO NEW COAL PLANTS! Firmly, without equivocation!

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