NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: A Deeper Look Utilities – Florida Power And Light

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    Monday, August 08, 2016

    TODAY’S STUDY: A Deeper Look Utilities – Florida Power And Light

    Florida Power & Light

    Nancy LaPlaca, July 2016 (Energy and Policy Institute)

    Editor’s note: A complete version of this report with detailed footnotes on sources is available on request.

    BACKGROUND: FLORIDA ELECTRICITY (includes all utilities)

    -Florida is 2nd in the U.S. for net electricity generation from natural gas, and total retail electricity sales (Texas is first for both.)

    -Annual electricity expenditures per household per year are $1,900; 40% higher than U.S. average

    -Florida (all utilities) 2013 spending on natural gas for electricity: $5.24 billion, and

    Florida (all utilities) 2013 spending on coal for electricity: $1.67 billion

    Florida spent nearly $165 million in 2012 importing coal from Colombia and Venezuela in South America, and Indonesia.

    Florida total electric power (net summer) capacity: 59,221 MW

    Electricity mix comparison, 2004 and 2014:

    -Despite Florida’s abundant natural resources and solar potential (see NREL map below), Florida generates 99% of its 25 GW of electricity from fossil fuels: 25 GW of power from: 68% natural gas (NG), 23% nuclear, 5% purchased power, 4% coal, less than 1% solar (2014)

    FLORIDA HAS FOUR LARGE, REGULATED UTILITIES

    -Florida has four large regulated, monopoly utilities (Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy [formerly Progress Energy], Tampa Electric and Gulf Power):

    FLORIDA - ALL UTILITIES - ELECTRICITY MIX 2014

    Natural Gas: 68%

    Coal: 4%

    Nuclear: 23%

    Solar: 1% (less than)

    Purchased Power: 4%

    FLORIDA HAS VERY LITTLE SOLAR POWER - LESS THAN 1%

    -Florida, known as the “sunshine state” has very little solar.

    -Although FL ranks third in the U.S. in rooftop solar potential, it ranks 14th for cumulative solar capacity installed (275 MW total solar installed, versus 27,400 MW total solar installed in the U.S. as of April 2016).

    -Despite Florida’s backwards solar policies, there are currently 425 solar companies in Florida, employing 6,600 people, and $105 million was invested in solar in Florida in 2015 alone.

    -Florida lags behind other states in that it has no renewable portfolio standard, nor does it allow for “third party solar,” two policies that have been major drivers of solar investment in other states.

    -According to an NREL study released in January 2016, Florida’s technical potential for rooftop solar on small, medium and large buildings is an astounding 76.2 GW, and could cover 46.5% of Florida’s total retail sales of electricity. (NOTE: Florida currently has 59.2 GW of total generating capacity, including all coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants.)

    FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT (FPL): BACKGROUND

    The parent company (owner) of Florida Power & Light (FPL) is NextEra Energy (“NextEra”):

    -Total 44.9 GW power plants

    -$17 billion in total revenues for 2014, and total assets (power plants, transmission lines etc.) nearly $75 billion.

    NEXT ERA’S EFFECTIVE TAX RATE 2008-2012: LESS THAN ZERO

    -NextEra Energy’s effective tax rate from 2008 through 2012 was less than zero, and received refunds of $178 million

    -If NextEra Energy had paid a 35% tax rate on its $11.4 billion in profits from 2008 through 2012, it would have paid $4.2 billion more in federal taxes than it did, and -NextEra received $2 billion in federal subsidies, making it th-e second largest recipient of these subsidies.

    -In a four-year period (2005-2008), NextEra paid only $88 million in taxes on $7 billion in total revenues.

    NEXT ERA AND POLLUTION

    -FPL is part-owner of one of the largest, dirtiest coal plants in the U.S.: Plant Scherer in Georgia, at nearly 3,500 MW and usually the largest single source of pollution in the U.S.

    -FPL’s Turkey Point nuclear plant was accused of being the source of increased levels of phosphorus and ammonia in Biscayne Bay, the drinking water source for 3 million Floridians.

    BACKGROUND: Florida Power & Light (FPL)

    -FPL, based in Juno Beach, FL, is the largest subsidiary of NextEra

    -FPL has 4.8 million customers, with 2015 operating revenues of $11.6 BILLION

    -FPL’s profits rose 8.6 percent in 2015 to $1.65 BILLION

    -NextEra is investing in pipelines, including FPL’s 33% ownership of Sabal pipeline (total cost $3 billion), plus $550 million to connect to FPL’s hub

    -Opposition to the Sabal Pipeline is mounting, with a gasoline pipeline called Palmetto recently halted by the Georgia legislature based on property rights; could pose problems for Sabal going forward.

    Also covered in this report: FPL Loses $4.1 Billion “Hedging” Natural Gas From 2002-2015…Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) Allows FPL To Earn A Return On “Fracking” In Oklahoma…Florida Power & Light (FPL) Campaign Spending…Florida Power And Light (FPL) Contributing To Anti-Solar Ballot Initiative…Florida Power And Light (FPL) 2014 And 2016 Political Contributions…Florida Power & Light (FPL) Lobbying Expenditures…Florida Power & Light (FPL) And The Revolving Door…Florida Power & Light Guts Energy Efficiency Goals, Is Allowed By The PSC To Reduce Over 90%...

    WHAT DID FLORIDA UTILITIES GET FOR THEIR MONEY?

    -FPL’s policy wins since 2007:

    -In January 2015, FPL asked regulators for a 24% rate increase by 2019 for its 4.8 million customers, including a substantial increase in profits.

    -Defeated a bill to increase customer electric bill transparency; defeated a bill to repeal a law that allows utilities to charge customers up-front for nuclear reactors, even when those reactors never deliver electricity (known as CWIP or Construction Work in Progress); and removed state regulators who opposed rate hikes.

    -FPL is credited with killing a bill that would have required the PSC to hold at least one meeting per year in the service territory of the customers served by that utility. Due to a lack of transparency, it’s not known how much FPL spent to defeat this bill.

    -In essence, FPL (and its parent NextEra) is flooding the political playing field with campaign contributions to expand its influence at the statehouse and achieve its policy goals.

    -Finally, from 2000 to 2010, Florida led the U.S. in federal public corruption convictions, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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