This is first in a series of blogs about Toshiba’s financial meltdown and the implications this is having on new nuclear power plant projects. Today’s blog serves as an overview.
Coverage of the still-unfolding financial meltdown of Japanese tech-mogul Toshiba has been growing since late December when the massive financial losses were first divulged. Toshiba’s much anticipated earnings report call yesterday, which was expected to shed light on the situation, was delayed with permission from Japanese regulators until March 14. Toshiba still reported extremely bad news, much larger losses than earlier predicted and the selling-off of key Toshiba assets.
Utilities in the southeast are already starting to “close” toxic coal ash pits. We calculated how much coal ash will be excavated and how much will be left in mostly unlined pits.
Thanks to weak or non-existent policies, inconsistent incentives, and a myriad of other excuses, the Southeast, as a whole, has yet to live up to its high solar potential. The last several months have brought some interesting developments though, some good and some challenging. Here’s a quick overview of the key takeaways, from North to South.
A report published by the Union of Concerned Scientists evaluated the risks of flood surge on associated power plant infrastructure in southern Florida. UCS’s report states, “Although Turkey Point, a large nuclear facility along the coast, is unlikely to be flooded by a Category 3 storm, everything around it is likely to be, and damage to nearby major substations could still prompt widespread outages in the region.” Similar impacts may be expected of other power plants in the path of Hurricane Matthew.
Florida is the Sunshine State, right? But you wouldn’t know it by looking at Florida rooftops. There are 9 million electricity customers, yet less than 12,000 solar rooftop systems. Even though Florida is one of the largest electricity markets in the country, it ranked 17th in solar development last year. So, the state shouldn’t be [...]
Three years ago, the Obama Administration outlined their goals for “Building a 21st – Century Transportation Sector” in their Climate Action Plan. The goal of the plan included increasing fuel economy standards and expanding advanced transportation technologies. We’ve come a long way in those few short years. The Administration has dramatically increased fuel economy standards for our cars, which aims to achieve a 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) fleetwide average by 2025. Through this initiative alone, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) over the lifetimes of the vehicles sold (MY 2012-2025) will be cut, save families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, and further reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Just last week, new rules to dramatically improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions were also finalized.
Even utilities in our notoriously coal-dependent Southeast are getting in on the action. Duke Energy, one of the two biggest utilities in our region, in late April announced plans to increase its renewable energy capacity to 8,000 megawatts by 2020, up by one-third over previous targets. “We’re finding that it’s competitive” on a cost basis, Duke Energy company spokesman Randy Wheeless has said of renewables. “It makes good business sense.” The Atlanta-based Southern Company, parent company of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power, intends to exceed its previously announced renewables totals for 2017 and 2018 and just bought a North Carolina company, PowerSecure, that focuses on distributed generation—smaller-scale local power often provided by renewable sources—along with energy efficiency. NextEra Energy, based in Juno, Florida and the parent of that state’s largest utility, Florida Power & Light (FPL), is a national leader in wind power development. “We continue to believe that the fundamentals for the North American renewables business have never been stronger,” NextEra Executive Vice President of Finance and CFO John Ketchum said on an April 28th earnings call.
As we move into 2016, we continue our look back at where our Southeastern utilities are in their movement away from coal-fired power. This blog will focus on Duke Energy’s coal-plant operations in the Carolinas and Florida. Although Duke Energy operates coal-fired power plants outside of the Southeast, for the purposes of this blog, we will focus on those plants that are located in our region. Duke Energy owns coal plants in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Duke was one of the earliest utilities in our region to begin reducing its reliance on coal-fired power, beginning with the retirements in 2011 of Units 1-4 (210 MW) at its Cliffside Steam Station, all three units at its Weatherspoon plant (171 MW) and the last two coal units at its Cape Fear plant (316 MW).
2015 was a watershed year for our work on coal ash. It’s been over seven years since the catastrophic coal ash spill in Kingston, TN and nearly two years since the spill along the Dan River in NC. Both events brought the inherent dangers of improper storage and handling of coal ash into the public eye. In response, [...]
Last Wednesday, 200 or so St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay Area residents raised their pitchforks in protest outside Duke Energy Florida’s headquarters in St. Petersburg. The protest was in response to years of Duke’s blatant disregard for customers’ interests, including gross mismanagement of the Crystal River nuclear plant and canceled Levy County nuclear plant (costing [...]