Hardly a utility on the frontlines of solar energy, Tampa Electric said Tuesday it will build a 25-megawatt, 70,000-solar panel project on 125 acres of its Big Bend power station on the eastern shore of Tampa Bay.
The deal comes a bit more than six years after Tampa Electric, a TECO Energy subsidiary, said it would buy solar-generated electricity by 2011 from a — you guessed it — same-sized 25MW facility planned at a Polk County site. That deal collapsed when Tampa Electric bowed out of its 25-year commitment, with both the utility and the builder of the facility blaming Florida's failure to establish a state energy policy....
There may come a day when Publix Super Markets does not report solid quarterly gains in profits and revenues. But it was not Monday.
Florida's largest private company set a milestone of sorts, reaching earnings of $1 billion for the first half of this year. That's up a very healthy 14.9 percent from $897.8 million achieved in the first half of 2014. Per quarter this year, that $1 billion was achieved with $548.9 million earned in the busier first quarter (when snowbirds are here), plus the $482.7 million earned in the quarter ended June 30....
Barely two years into her role as CEO of Tampa's Seminole Electric Cooperative — a provider of electricity to 1.4 million Floridians and businesses across 42 counties — Lisa Johnson faces a looming challenge.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, cracking down on carbon emissions, is targeting coal-fueled power plants in a federal initiative called the Clean Power Plan. In Florida, that could force the early closing of most of the remaining coal plants in the state. Seminole Electric provides wholesale electric power to its nine-member distribution electric cooperatives. They, in turn, deliver electricity to their mostly rural and often lower-income customers....
07/31/15 Real Estate
Tampa Bay's housing market sure seems to be roaring back to life. Just look at some headlines on recent stories from my fellow staff writers.
As Tampa Bay foreclosures plunge, prices jump
Tampa Bay home sales soared in June
Is Tampa Bay's real estate market Florida's best-kept secret?
They are all completely legitimate stories. But let's not carried away just yet. And let's definitely not forget the reasons this metro market and state are still crawling out of the dark hole left behind by the burst housing bubble of nine years ago....
The parent company of Allegiant Air reported boffo second-quarter gains in profits and growth late Wednesday, winning bravos from Wall Street analysts in a conference call with Allegiant executives.
But there was not a single peep about safety concerns from analysts nor any explanation volunteered by airline execs stemming from a series of emergency landings in recent months. The most recent nail biter involved a flight forced to land last week at a Fargo, N.D., airport with only minutes of fuel left in its tanks. Federal Aviation Administration officials are investigating why the plane was not properly fueled and the pilots were unaware of reports earlier made to Allegiant that the airport would be closed for the Blue Angels practicing for an air show....
A much-anticipated Bass Pro Shops store opens Wednesday in Brandon, a 130,000-square-foot, 300-employee reminder that the outdoor recreation company has pegged Florida as big enough to handle at least 15 such stores — far more, so far, than any other state.
It's a clever strategy. Rival and similar-sized outdoor sports company Cabela's, also spreading nationwide from its Nebraska base, has yet to enter Florida and will now be sure to find it crowded....
When it comes to airlines' flights, it's proved feast or famine for many Florida airports in recent years.
Of 200 U.S. airports, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport saw the greatest percentage increase, a whopping 94 percent, in flights over the past four years, topping No. 2 Orlando Sanford International's gain of 71 percent. The dramatic increases in airline flights at Tampa Bay's and the Orlando area's secondary airports speak well for the nation's growing interest in Central Florida's tourism and business markets....
Are you more likely to succeed in starting a small business in one Florida city over another? Nerdwallet thinks so.
Statewide, cities based in Central Florida and the suburbs of Miami are among those topping the list of 268 Florida cities for launching a small business as rated by Nerdwallet, a website that crunches financial data. Orlando suburb Maitland was ranked No. 1, thanks to its small businesses averaging revenues of more than $4.5 million, higher than any other city....
Headquartered in the heart of downtown Tampa, TECO Energy must feel sandwiched between neighboring behemoths Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light like a mom-and-pop store squeezed by Walmart and Amazon.
Small wonder TECO — parent of Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas and, more recently, New Mexico Gas — said Thursday that it has hired Wall Street dealmaker Morgan Stanley to test the waters about selling TECO to the highest bidder....
07/17/15 Economic Development
Florida enjoyed a second-quarter boost in venture capital, with 17 of its young and cash-hungry companies attracting investments, including six in the Tampa Bay area.
Tampa's AquaVenture Holdings led the way locally in the quarter with $30 million committed by several venture capital firms, including Advent Morro Equity Partners. AquaVenture owns Seven Seas Water, a provider of water-management solutions for municipal and industrial clients, and Quench, a water-technology company that services U.S. businesses with filtered water and related ice, coffee and tea services....
Got to hand it to the powers who so deftly control Florida's electricity market.
Just when solar power finally shows signs of progress in the Sunshine State, the cabal of electric utility monopolies and the Tallahassee political machine so beholden to their cash contributions find a new way to say No.
On Wednesday, a group with the quick-stamped name of Consumers for Smart Solar unveiled a petition drive to place an amendment dealing with solar energy on the 2016 ballot. It will need to collect nearly 700,000 signatures....
07/10/15 Economic Development
Tampa's pursuit of a corporation (or two) willing to relocate its headquarters here just gained added muscle with the addition of Gray Swoope, the former chief of Enterprise Florida, and his new consulting firm to a task force dedicated to pitching this metro area as a hidden gem for Fortune 1000 companies.
"From my role at Enterprise Florida" — which Swoope left in early 2015 after four years — "the state of Florida is getting a lot of looks" by relocating businesses, Swoope said....
The burst of recent troubles at Allegiant Air is not just about a booming upstart airline suffering too many emergency landings and canceled flights at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.
The expansion here of Las Vegas-based Allegiant is not only driving record passenger numbers at Pinellas County's airport but also feeding the dazzling growth in Pinellas and nearby tourism....
TECO Energy now knows what it feels like to try and sell the energy industry's version of buggy whips.
The Tampa power company — and parent of Tampa Electric, People's Gas and New Mexico Gas — announced a deal last fall to sell TECO Coal, its Appalachian coal business, to Cambrian Coal.
"This transaction will result in a complete exit from the coal mining business," TECO Energy CEO John Ramil said in October....
07/02/15 Real Estate
What would happen if "Tampa Bay" was trying to pitch itself as a compelling partner on Match.com? What would stand out? How could this place sell itself competitively when compared to the better-known and presumably more exciting Orlando, the tourism king, or Miami, the unofficial northern capital of Latin America?
What are Tampa Bay's drivers?
This is the crux of a recent conversation I had with Ryan Severino, senior economist and research director of Reis, a 35-year provider of commercial real estate information and analysis that monitors office vacancy trends across the country....