The Miami Herald, in its report (below) slid past at least one point that deserves explanation: "An additional $660,000 five-year grant will provide 21 engineering students with a chance to study fluctuations caused by cloud cover or seasonal variations and design smart technology to manipulate the flow." Question: manipulate which flow?
If the massive problem in the cooling canals at Turkey Point demonstrate anything, it is along the lines of hubris. Back in the early 1970's, there was lots of civic skepticism -- by the very same conservation groups hammering away at FPL's dismal record, today -- that the untried, untested cooling canals would not work. Today, and over the past thirty years, the history is clear: FPL kept away from the public data and information about its growing problem.
The corporation was so confident of its ability to "manipulate the flow" of information and outcomes, suppressed data collection related to its pollution, and repeatedly pushed away and finally broke the back of state regulators who were charged to protect the public interest.
Today the corporation is facing multi-billion dollar costs to fix the broken cooling canal system that is putting the whole of the Florida Keys and much of the aquifer in south Miami-Dade at risk.
It is no surprise that the corporation's message machinery is working double-shifts to paint a rosy picture for the public and mask how poorly its "manipulation of flow" worked in the past. As a side note, the cooling canals at Turkey Point work on the principle that "dilution is the solution to pollution". That principle applies equally to criminal laws against polluters.
Another question: FPL's "$4.7 million dollar solar array" is over a parking lot. Good idea. We've asked the question before (most recently, right here!) why won't FPL allow other businesses to erect and to own solar arrays like this on the top of rooftop warehouses in the Miami Airport industrial neighborhoods? They could either buy or lease the technology from FPL and sell the excess electricity produced, back into the FPL grid. (read our archive on FPL, for more on this.)
This freedom to choose whether or not or how to participate in the solar revolution is exactly what FPL and the state's other utilities are determined to stop. FPL wants to control every aspect of energy distribution, as it does in South Florida today. We are supposed to be thankful, FPL suggests, because we have some of the lowest electric rates in the nation. But at what cost? the sceptic asks looking at Turkey Point's severe pollution trouble.
FPL's top executive, Eric Silagy, told the Herald, "... FPL supports solar, as long as it’s good for customers — and cost and reliability remain issues. Expensive rooftop panels, which gives credit to customers for the electricity they don’t use, forces poorer customers to subsidize wealthier ones who can afford systems that run more than $30,000, he said. This year, a rebate program that paid $30 million to just 1,700 residential and commercial customers ended because it failed to spur enough new solar use."
What Silagy didn't say: the solar program in Florida failed to provide clear incentives for adoption by business and consumers because the state's utilities manipulated the flow against the benefits to the public.
If there is one thing FPL does better than produce electricity, it is being disingenuous.
April 27, 2016
Is it a lab or a parking lot? FPL, FIU partner on new solar project
FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy, adds his signature to a display solar
panel during an unveiling of a new solar array at the FIU college of engineering.
By Jenny Staletovich - firstname.lastname@example.org
Engineering students at Florida International University are getting a two-fer with Florida Power & Light’s new 1.4-megawatt solar array at the university’s Sweetwater campus: covered parking and a lab.