New Finding: Clean Energy Costs Less Than Florida's Gas Addiction

Author  Ricky Junquera

TAMPA, FL - This morning, the Sierra Club released a report that shows a Florida electric utility portfolio of additional renewable energy, storage, and demand-side management (DSM) could consistently meet, and beat, the performance characteristics of new proposed big methane gas fired power plants - and at a lower cost to consumers. That analysis was based on the methodology developed by the  Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) in their new Report, comparing Florida utilities’ fracked gas plants under construction to their potential clean energy counterparts. 

“Clean energy is at a tipping point in Florida,” said Susannah Randolph, Senior Campaign Representative for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.  “This report shows that investments in solar, storage, and demand response measures such as energy efficiency are not only good for our environment and curbing the effects of climate change, but that it’s the best financial decision for utilities and local governments when it comes to spending ratepayers money in the most responsible way.”

RMI’s concept, called the Clean Energy Portfolio (CEP), demonstrates that portfolios of renewable energy, storage, and demand-side management (DSM) could consistently meet, and beat, the performance characteristics of new proposed gas - and at a lower cost to consumers. Sierra Club used RMI’s recently updated CEP framework and its own conservative assumptions to evaluate the economics of CEPs versus four approved gas plants in Florida.

“This report shows that gas isn’t competitive in Florida, and building a new gas plant today puts utility customers on the financial hook for stranded assets in as few as 13 years,” said Tom Larson, Sierra Club Florida’s Energy and Climate Issues Chair. “All four of Florida’s proposed gas plants outlined in the report are already more expensive than the equivalent in solar, wind, and battery storgage. Florida utility customers deserve a better deal for their money.”

The analysis shows that Florida can, today, meet the key performance characteristics of the big gas-fired power plants proposed by FPL, TECO, and Seminole Electric Cooperative with clean energy alternatives, and at a lower cost than the proposed gas plants. Clean energy in Florida has reached market parity. It is now lower cost to use renewable energy, storage, and demand response to meet customer needs than to continue building large central generating station

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