Friday, August 17, 2007

Coal Cooling Off?

From the Ocala (FL) Star-Banner 8/15/07

Coal's crown as the nation's energy king is slipping. In Florida, it has toppled altogether.
To add to coal's woes, Gov. Charlie Crist signed executive orders last month mandating Florida power companies severely cut carbon emissions. That means utility companies that once embraced coal for much of their electric power will have to use other sources for their energy needs, namely natural gas and nuclear.

Progress Energy Florida, with about 64,000 customers in Marion County and 1.7 million in Florida, has no foreseeable plans to build another coal-fired plant, said Buddy Eller, the company's spokesman.

The Florida Municipal Power Agency, which includes Ocala Electric Utility and its 54,000 customers as one of its members, also has no intentions to resurrect its plans for a coal-fired plant in Taylor County.

"We announced that it was suspended. As of today, that suspension is indefinite," said Mark McCain, the power agency's spokesman.

"I think there is a fundamental shift in Florida's energy policy," he said. "Coal suffers from a perception problem. I saw that when we proposed the Taylor County facility."

FMPA dropped its plans for a $1.4 billion coal plant a little more than a month after the Florida Public Service Commission denied Florida Power and Light's permission to build a similar coal plant in Glades County.

Florida is not unique, though, because coal is losing its glow across the country.

Florida Power and Light's permit failure with the Service Commission mirrored similar defeats of coal-fired plants in Delaware, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon and Illinois.

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