Progress Energy to close coal plants after nukes come online

12/18/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

Today Progress Energy CEO Jeff Lyash announced that his company has agreed to retire its oldest two coal-fire units at its Crystal River Energy Complex in Citrus County. The shutdown will occur after the new nuclear plant in nearby Levy County is completed.

Progress Energy says by removing the 2 units, it will be be the equivalent of removing more than 830,000 vehicles from Florida’s roads

Roy Brinkman is the Energy Issue Chair with the Sierra Club of Florida. He has mixed feelings about Progress announcement. Brinkman says the Sierra Club doesn’t believe exchanging coal for nuclear power is a good exchange; another concern is the cost.

The St. Petersburg Times reports that CEO Jeff Lyash said Progress Energy intends to make $1.4-billion in pollution reduction investments to two other Crystal River coal plants between now and 2010.

But Brinkman says that move may be less altruistic than it appears.

Progress Energy is scheduled to raise energy bills 25 percent to pay for higher 2008 fuel costs and for early costs of the $17-billion nuclear project in Levy County. Recently some local bay area legislators been unsuccessful in their efforts to have Progress rescind the rate hikes.

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Thanks, Roy

After listening to Mr. Brinkman's interview, I don't believe this printed story is accurate. Mr. Brinkman's comments on cost appear to be made relative to the theft by nuclear industry of tax- and rate-payer funds that could be better spent to develop, contruct and operate cleaner, safer and more sustainable sources of energy like solar, wind, geothermal and tidal. And he is correct. The push in Levy County has nothing to do with environmental concern and all about the continuous, unrestrained growth of return on shareholder equity at the expense of the environment. A growth patter, by the way, inherent in cancer cells as well. The real problem here is that the environment is not respectful of the wishes of some board of directors who cannot reverse its course after certain thresholds have been breached any more than they can command the tides. Best wishes for a future! Jim Walker Tallahassee