Utility chief speaks to Tiger Bay Club
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04/07/09 Amy Beeman
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

The president and CEO of Progress Energy, Jeff Lyash, spoke to the Tiger Bay Club about the future of energy and where things stand with the controversial new Tampa Bay Rays stadium at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club today.

Lyash, a known proponent of building a new local nuclear power plant, told the crowd that nuclear power alone is not the solution to our future energy needs. He said with the depletion of fossil fuels, it is important to look at a variety of new sources of energy that can be used simultaneously.

He said the implementation of more energy efficiency, developing cost effective alternative, renewable energy, and investing in state of the art energy infrastructures are all necessary for achieving balance and longevity.

Lyash said where energy is concerned, both old and new, responsibility for its effects is ours to bear and must be taken into account. He called the environmental impact of past and current energy sources a debt that we have not paid. Now, he said, with that debt already accrued, the necessity to come up with new energy sources while being environmentally responsible is vital.

Besides environmental concerns about building a local nuclear power plant due to the radioactive waste it will create, another criticism is about where the money will come from. Progress energy would eventually bill its customers roughly 5 percent, or $850 million of the $17 billion it will take to build the plant. Lyash called the cost to customers a small fraction.

Lyash promised openness, honesty and transparency in the financial dealings regarding a new nuclear power plant if it is built.

Lyash ended his speech by talking about his other cause, a new baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Lyash said an interim report is in the works for June that will answer five questions, including if Tropicana Field can be renovated and made to work better in the long term; How other stadiums around the nation are owned and financed; What the economic impact of having a major league franchise in Bay area is; What designs are available and which of those would work best for our needs; And lastly, where would we put a new stadium?

Lyash said the answers to these questions will be in place before starting a new dialogue with the public about the possibility of a new stadium.

Tom James, Chairman and CEO of Raymond James will speak at the next meeting of the Tiger Bay Club April 28 at the Feather Sound Country Club.

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