Make us your home page

Critics attack Progress Energy's nuclear plans

TALLAHASSEE — Progress Energy came under fire Wednesday from critics who say its $17-billion plan to build a pair of nuclear reactors in Levy County offers few guarantees to consumers forced to pick up the tab.

The St. Petersburg utility has yet to sign a contract for its reactors. Its cost estimate remains nonbinding. The utility argued against a spending cap. And Jeff Lyash, Progress Energy president and CEO, said Wednesday that he couldn't say when he'd pull the plug if costs soared higher.

On Wednesday, the Florida Public Service Commission convened the first of three days of hearings to determine whether Progress Energy can justify the electricity need for building two 1,100-megawatt reactors several miles north of Crystal River, and whether nuclear is the best and cheapest option.

Leon Jacobs, an attorney representing the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said Progress Energy's cost estimate for nuclear is "pure speculation." He said the utility has overestimated demand and failed to factor in energy-saving measures on the horizon, such as solar hot water heating and energy-efficient appliances and construction.

The utility has also failed to prove that nuclear is the most cost-effective option, said James Brew, an attorney representing White Springs Agricultural Chemicals, a Progress Energy customer that uses large amounts of power.

Brew argued that the record on nuclear is "virtually screaming" that Progress Energy's cost estimate isn't realistic. It will take customers 30 to 60 years to reap any cost savings from nuclear, he said.

Alex Glenn, counsel for Progress Energy, countered by enumerating the benefits of a nuclear option: It emits no carbon dioxide, the culprit behind global warming. The fuel cost is cheaper and more stable than that of natural gas. And the utility has done all it can do to conserve electricity.

Critics attack Progress Energy's nuclear plans 05/21/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 23, 2008 2:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa is 15th-most popular city to move to with U-Haul


    TAMPA —Tampa is undoubtedly a destination point, at least according to U-Haul.

    Tampa is the No. 15 destination for people moving with U-Haul trucks. | Times file photo
  2. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall


    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  3. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  4. Posh Guy Harvey RV park to open in Tampa Bay with $250,000 cottages


    HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.

    Renderings of the clubhouse and an RV cottage site of the planned Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs.
[Guy Harvey Outpost Collection]
  5. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel


    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.