When Duke Energy has something to say, the energy industry listens. It owns 58,200 megawatts of base and peak load generating power it distributes from North Carolina. It had plans on the table to build a new nuclear plant in Florida, but it thought again. The news on the green streets tonight might be, ‘guess what, Duke Energy abandoned nuclear for batteries, and perhaps it was the right time too.’
How Duke Energy Abandoned Nuclear for Batteries
Nuclear power generation is going through a bad patch in America. Westinghouse Electric Corporation responsible for numerous nuclear reactors filed for bankruptcy on 29 March 2017. Ars Technica reports this was after the Toshiba subsidiary reported unaffordable, overdue projects spinning out of cost control.
In this particular instance, Duke Energy told Florida’s public service commission if it continued building the nuclear station, it would have to increase its electricity charges by over eight percent. The Florida government refused. Duke Energy abandoned nuclear for batteries and solar power for economic reasons in Florida. This is a watershed moment and perhaps a green energy milestone too.
It takes a while to bring fresh energy generation on stream. The Florida state government could not allow Duke Energy to walk away from its commitments. Think Progress advises Duke will instead invest $6 billion in ‘solar energy, smart meters, and grid modernization., as well as electric vehicle charging stations and a battery storage pilot program.
This will not fully compensate Florida for the reduced future power from Duke, but the shadow of more nuclear has passed over the sunshine state for now. We wish Duke every success with its new venture that will provide opportunities to explore other power technology.
Is This the End of Duke’s ‘Long Held Nuclear Belief’?
We are unsure about this. Ars Technica cites Tampa Bay Times saying, ‘Duke is effectively giving up its long-held belief that nuclear power is a key component to its Florida future and, instead, making a dramatic shift toward more solar power.’ Strong feelings are running either way. From where we sit following Chernobyl and Fukushima, this seems to us a move in a more sustainable direction.
Preview Image: Kennedy Space Center Solar Farm
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