Contested FPL rate settlement would boost alternative energy sources


There’s a hefty green energy element to Florida Power & Light Co.’s proposed $811 million electric rate increase, now before the Public Service Commission.

The proposed settlement in the rate case would allow the power company to expand an experiment with battery technology, with the company absorbing $115 million in development costs.

“We think it makes sense to get ahead of the curve and understand what value can accrue to the system by deploying batteries — whether it be to large customers, small customers, the distribution level, substations, whatever that might be,” Bob Barrett, vice president for finance for FPL, said during a special hearing Thursday.

The idea is to test where batteries might make the best sense — to help manage peak demand, for example, he said.

“I guess they could be deployed with solar, to see if that could be firmed up, since it’s an intermittent resource.”

Regarding solar, the deal would allow FPL to bring up to 1,200 megawatts of generation capacity online during its four-year term. Subject to additional PSC scrutiny, these costs could be reflected in customer base rates.

By comparison, the utility will bring three plants generating 224 megawatts online by the end of 2016.

Barrett argued it would be a good deal.

“We continue to see, from a customer’s perspective, good downward pressure on (solar) panel prices,” he said. “We think that as we launch into this large program, we’ll begin to see even better pressure on vendors.”

The PSC is expected to vote on the deal on Nov. 29.

Michael Moline

Michael Moline is a former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal and managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal. Previously, he reported on politics and the courts in Tallahassee for United Press International. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as editor of the Florida Flambeau. His family’s roots in Jackson County date back many generations.


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