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UPDATED: FPL official gives his company special treatment in Scott transition report

After reading hundreds of pages of reports from the transition teams to Gov.-elect Rick Scott, one section stood out today, authored by Sam Forrest, Florida Power & Light's vice president of Energy Marketing & Trading.
 
Although the report from the Economic Development Transition Team makes no mention of the fact that Forrest works for FPL, he authored the section on "Strategic Investments into the State of Florida/Renewable Energy." The section devotes two of the seven slides to FPL's argument -- that Floridians are willing to pay more on their electric bills to build 700 megawatts of solar energy.
 
FPL is hoping to get legislative approval again this year for exactly that -- 700 megawatts of solar power for which it wants the authority to raise customer bills to pay for it. There is no mention of other approaches to achieving a broader market for solar power, such as allowing homeowners or companies to generate their solar energy and sell it back to power companies, and no mention of allowing competitors to FPL and other electricity giants into the marketplace.
 "FPL has identified sites for more than 500 additional MW of power,'' Forrest's report says. "...700 MW of renewables could expand Florida's economic activity and add 40,000 new jobs."
Was it self-serving for the FPL executive whose job it is to expand renewables to author the report citing his company's readiness to expand renewables? Why no mention of the relationship here? Why no indication of other approaches to expanding solar energy other than the 700 megawatt traunch bill? We've posed those questions to FPL and the Scott team and we'll update here when we get the responses.
 
Update: FPL spokesman Mark Bubriski responded Thursday with these comments:
  • Sam Forrest, FPL's Vice President of Energy Marketing & Trading, was announced as a member of the Gov.-elect's Economic Development Transition Team on Nov. 29, 2010.  (http://www.scotttransition.com/2010/11/governor-elect-rick-scott-assembles-two-teams-focused-on-fixing-florida%E2%80%99s-economy/).
  • Mr. Forrest presented the renewable energy component of the presentation, which includes more than just FPL's future solar projects, on behalf of several members of the Economic Development Transition Team, including officials from the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida who worked together to develop it.
  • While Mr. Forrest does work for the largest producer of renewable energy in the nation, his job does not involve renewable development.

 "We hope that the proposal is read with a balanced, thoughtful perspective because this is an important issue for Florida. As FPL has shown with our three large-scale solar projects, the expansion of renewable energy such as solar and biomass could happen quickly in Florida at a low cost, create jobs right away, spur innovative R&D at our universities and attract manufacturing facilities, technology developers and other lasting businesses to support the state's economic and energy security for the long term."

Finally, this exchange prompted a source within the company to tell us that "although Sam's formal job is not renewable energy, he was handpicked by (FPL CEO) Armando Olivera and (FPL Vice President) Eric Silagy for this Scott transition team role to keep the perceived distance between Eric Silagy, our company and Gov.-elect Scott while ensuring that our company's agenda, and only our company's agenda, made it to the final recommendations."

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