Scott, Cabinet Poised to Take Up FPL Projects

Posted By: Garnie Holmes (deleted) Legislative/Regulatory,

Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet next week could sign off on a plan by Florida Power & Light to build a power plant in Broward County and will wade back into a dispute about an FPL nuclear project in Miami-Dade County.

Scott and the Cabinet released an agenda Tuesday for a Nov. 20 meeting that includes proposed “certification” of FPL’s plan for a 1,200-megawatt plant in Broward that has drawn opposition from the Sierra Club. Under state law, Scott and the Cabinet serve as a siting board that has authority to decide whether power-plant projects should move forward.

Administrative Law Judge Cathy Sellers in July issued a 129-page recommended order that urged Scott and the Cabinet to approve certification for the natural-gas plant, which would replace two older generating units at what is known as FPL’s Lauderdale site in Dania Beach and Hollywood. The Sierra Club raised a series of objections, focusing heavily on greenhouse-gas emissions that would come from the new plant.

But Sellers wrote that the new plant would be more efficient than the units it would replace and would help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions across FPL’s broader system.
“(The) competent, credible evidence showed that the operation of Unit 7 (the new plant) will reduce GHG emissions across FPL’s electrical power generating system because it will be operated more often than other, less efficient units, thereby displacing the use of those units across FPL’s electrical power generation system,” Sellers wrote.

The Broward County plan is one of a series of projects FPL has undertaken in recent years to build natural-gas plants and shut down older facilities. That effort has included projects at Cape Canaveral, Riviera Beach, Port Everglades and in Okeechobee County.

Scott and the Cabinet members — Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis — are expected to meet Nov. 20 by telephone, according to the agenda published Tuesday. The meeting will come just hours after Scott and two Cabinet members, operating as the state Elections Canvassing Commission, are scheduled to certify the results of the Nov. 6 elections.

Along with the Dania Beach power plant, Scott and the Cabinet are slated to revisit a dispute about FPL’s plans to build two nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point complex in Miami-Dade County. In 2014, Scott and the Cabinet, acting as the siting board, approved the project.

But the 3rd District Court of Appeal sided with local governments and overturned the decision by Scott and the Cabinet. The court said, in part, the siting board failed to apply the city of Miami’s land-development regulations and erred by thinking it did not have the authority to require FPL to install transmission lines underground.
The ruling said the case should go back to the siting board “for further review consistent with local developmental regulations, comprehensive plans and the applicable environmental regulations.”

FPL took the transmission-line issue to the Florida Supreme Court, contending that the state Public Service Commission — not the governor and Cabinet — has authority over decisions about installing underground lines. The Supreme Court, however, declined to take up the case.

Reposted with permission from The News Service of Florida