US Power company in Florida kills nuclear plant, plans $6 billion in solar, battery investment
On Tuesday, power provider Duke Energy Florida announced a settlement with the state’s public service commission (PSC) to cease plans to build a nuclear plant in western Florida. The utility instead intends to invest $6 billion in solar panels, grid-tied batteries, grid modernization projects, and electric vehicle charging areas. The new plan involves the installation of 700MW of solar capacity over four years in the western Florida area.
There's excitement from the solar industry, but the announcement is more bad news for the nuclear industry. Earlier this year, nuclear reactor company Westinghouse declared bankruptcy as construction of its new AP1000 reactors suffered from contractor issues and a stringent regulatory environment. Two plants whose construction was already underway — the Summer plant in South Carolina and the Vogtle plant in Georgia — found their futures in question immediately.
At the moment, Summer’s owners are considering abandoning the plant, and Vogtle’s owners are weighing whether they will do the same or attempt to salvage the project.
Just last week, Duke told its PSC that it would have to increase rates by more than eight percent due to increased fuel costs. But with the new settlement that directs the utility toward solar and storage, customers will see that rate hike cut to 4.6 percent.
|Power company kills nuclear plant, plans $6 billion in solar, battery investment
Duke Energy Florida is just the latest utility to walk away from nuclear.