Duke Energy Florida cancels nuclear project and invests $6 billion in clean energy projects instead
Energy company Duke Energy Florida filed a revised settlement agreement with the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) to cease plans to build a nuclear plant in western Florida and invest in a solar energy, storage, grid modernisation and other clean energy projects.
Duke Energy Florida hadn’t started building the nuclear plant, but allegedly, it did have plans to order two AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse.
Nuclear giant Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy last March, when costs for the construction of capital-intensive AP1000 reactors surpassed the budget by approximately $1 billion to $1.3 billion.
If the settlement is approved by FPSC, it will take effect in 2018 and will include investment of nearly $6 billion over the next four years, while also minimising costs for consumers.
The company announced that it will accelerate its previous 10-year solar installation plan, by adding 700MW solar capacity coming from multiple projects.
The investment will also include grid modernisation works, to enhance reliability, shorten restoration times and support the growth of renewable energy and emerging technologies.
In addition, the company will invest in the installation of more than 500 electric vehicle charging stations and up to 50MW battery storage.
Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida State President, said: "This settlement allows us to move forward to create a smarter energy future for our customers and communities”.
He added: "It resolves the future of the Levy Nuclear Project and reinforces our commitment to building cost-effective solar in Florida”, noting that the company will no longer move forward with the Levy Nuclear Project, and customers will no longer pay associated costs.
Dr. Stephen A. Smith Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy welcomed the decision: "We applaud Duke Energy Florida for working proactively with stakeholders to embrace smart technologies that are both good for consumers and the environment”.
He added: "Large scale solar, electric vehicles and battery storage demonstrate that Duke is embracing technologies for the 21st century”.
The company also plans to commission the construction of a new 79MW solar plant in Hamilton County in early 2018.