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FPL to build 8 new Florida solar energy plants, add 2.5M panels by 2018

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Florida Power & Light Co. is doubling down on solar power, announcing Monday a significant expansion of renewable energy production through next year. FPL, currently the largest generator of solar energy in Florida, will build eight new universal solar power plants by early 2018 – boosting its production with more than 2.5 million solar panels. “We have been working hard to drive down the costs of adding solar,” said FPL President/CEO Eric Silagy, “so we can deliver even more zero-emissions…

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Sierra Club challenges nearly $1 billion electric rate hike

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An environmental group is challenging a rate hike for Florida’s largest electric utility. The Sierra Club on Tuesday asked the state Supreme Court to reject an $811 million hike that was approved last year for Florida Power & Light. FPL has about 4.8 million customers in the state. FPL initially wanted a $1.3 billion hike but scaled it back during settlement negotiations. The hike was approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, and part of it took effect this month.…

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Tampa Bay Times’ mind-boggling figures in ‘rooftop solar fight’ don’t add up

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Consider the eye-grabbing Tampa Bay Times’ front-page headline Wednesday: $43M spent to limit solar. Beyond the silliness of assuming that every dollar utilities donated this cycle is part of a plot to fight rooftop solar — as if there is nothing else they care about — the story is screwed up six ways to Sunday. If a politician were to use these numbers, PolitiFact would rate them somewhere in the range of Mostly False to Pants on Fire. Let’s start from the top: “Lost…

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Hurricane Matthew represents a major test for Florida utilities

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Florida power companies are prepared for Hurricane Matthew, which is already causing significant power outages throughout the state. But the storm, a Category 3 as of this writing, also represents a test — whether North Florida’s energy infrastructure can handle powerful winds and the resulting storm surge flooding. While utilities throughout the Southeastern U.S. have been actively preparing for such an event, CNBC reports Matthew will nonetheless present a serious challenge to the region’s power grid, as millions of Floridians could…

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FPL halfway to sunny goal of 1 million solar panels installed by year’s end

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Florida’s top utility is kicking its solar capacity into high gear, celebrating the halfway mark of an audacious goal of one million solar panels in operation by the end of 2016. Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest solar power generator, announced Thursday the installation of its 500,000th solar panel, part of a plan to bring three new solar energy centers online this year. Each of the proposed centers expects to generate 74.5 megawatts of generating capacity apiece, making them…

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Joe Henderson: Hurricane Hermine leaves Category 5 mess in unprepared Tallahassee

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While city officials play those favored political parlor games of finger-pointing and pass-the-blame, thousands of residents remain without power. That’s all we ought to care about now. There are reports of price gouging. Large trees are down all over the city. People are steaming as they wonder about the competence of the power they have elected to office. Yes, folks, that is life in Tallahassee as residents there try to cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine. This Category 1…

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Tallahassee officials say they did not “reject” offers of help with power restoration; they just didn’t say “yes”

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In their clearest explanation yet, Tallahassee city officials said Tuesday they did not “reject” offers of help from outside utilities in the wake of Hurricane Hermine, but rather just didn’t say “yes” to everyone right away. That was because too many workers, rather than being a boon, would have presented a coordination and safety nightmare, officials suggested. The Tallahassee City Commission held a special meeting to “discuss the impacts of Hurricane Hermine and the (electricity) restoration progress.” One of the…

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