Balbis reviews Florida electric power landscape

Outgoing Florida Public Service Commission member Eduardo Balbis is concerned about state reliance on natural gas and the EPA Clean Power Plan.

Originally appointed to the PSC by former Gov. Charlie Crist, Balbis is in his final days as a member of the commission. He addressed PennWell’s GenForum Dec. 8 in Orlando.

“We import almost all of our natural gas,” Balbis said. This is significant given that most of state’s generation is now fueled by natural gas.

“We have very little in-state storage,” Balbis said. Florida’s two existing interstate natural gas pipelines are fully utilized and a third has been proposed, Balbis noted. “We no longer have significant coal or significant oil.”

 EPA greenhouse gas regulation is probably the No. 1 issued facing Florida, Balbis said. Florida is in essence being asked to meet 37% cut since 2012, Balbis said.

The state has already decreased its carbon intensity 21% since 2005, Balbis said.

Balbis noted that Florida does not have a renewable portfolio standard. One had been proposed during the Crist administration but never became law, Balbis said.

NextEra (NYSE:NEE) also completed one of the largest nuclear uprates in recent industry history, Balbis said. Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) retired its Crystal River 3 nuclear plant in the state. Meanwhile both Duke and NextEra subsidiary Florida Power and Light (FPL) have been increasing their natural gas power generation in the state.

Florida has nearly about 60,000 MW of generating capacity in the state.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.