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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."

Comments

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BM

Make no mistake about it, FPL will serve their own self interest. The one that stands out is a so called green development called Babcock Ranch. They want all the rate payers in the state to subsidize the creation of their power source. This cannot be allowed to happen.

AndyN

Vermont supports "solar orchards" where individuals can get together, invest in land and solar panels, and sell the power back to the grid. WE NEED THIS FLORIDA, the sunshine state. FPL should not control our power future - not when there is so much potential for private investment and change.

SunnyD

So FPL wants us to foot the bill for their future renewable energy sources that will cost them nothing to reproduce once built?
Do you think that FPL will discount Floridians when they are getting power from the sun and not producing it through burning fossil fuels or nuclear power?
Why don't we subsidize individual investment into Solar power and let people generate their own power and not have to pay a power company for it?

FPLMedia

Mary Ellen, I'm disappointed that you didn't call me before you rushed to publish inaccurate information. Here are a few basic corrections for you:
*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.

--Mark Bubriski, Director of Media Relations, Florida Power & Light Co.

Ed S

40,000 jobs with 700 MW of power? last time FP&L built a solar PV plant most of the workers came from out of state and they ignored the local solar companies who employ Floridians. They also built it by removing green plants and trees and covering it with panels. They also built it in a location so far from South Florida that they would loose a large % of it in transmission loss. Don't look at their promises, look at their history!!

We NEED SOLAR IN FLORIDA but we need it on rooftops that already exist, we need it installed by FLORIDA roofers, electricians and solar contractors and we need to allow it to be installed in a FREE MARKET where market forces dictate the price and where home owners and business owners will have incentives to install it and gain value from it. Let's not extend FP&L's monopoly to the Sun as well.

Patti Lynn

FP&L has successfully managed to have every consumer advocate on the Public Service Commission removed from their position. They're talking about cutting rates for businesses and increasing the rate for private homes. FP&L is NOT required to "buy back" power generated by individuals' solar panels, where it is required almost every place else. The State of Florida is being run by greedy companies, politicians, and legislators. Look what they've done to education!!! Without quality education, we'll never have new industry relocate to Florida. Our graduation rates are dismal, those who graduate need remedial training as college freshmen. But...WE HAVE GUNS!!!

arrric

FPL has done nothing for residents to go solar in fact is the only power company in the state that does not have a rebate program for solar hot water and solar electric.
FPL recieved a $200 million dollar grant from the Fed. Gov. for the last solar project and yhe State duped Florida residents out of half of the $52 million owed in solar rebates by only fundind half what was promised.
FPL was in Forbes as one of the companies who paid the least corporate income taxes because they spend 500 thousand a year in lobbiest in the state.

arrric

If residents in Florida were able to install panels on roof tops it would allow residents to produce eletricity to put back on the grid during peak demand and FPL would not have to build any more power plants.

This would produce jobs in the private sector and take away some of the monopoly that FPL holds in this state.
FPL's argument is they can do it better and faster than local businesses and taking it away from small business
P.S. watch the money people!!

Mark M


This is so typical and I am tired of it. Then, let's send in Mark Bubriski, the Director of Media Relations, for FP&L to comment above for damage control. Bubriski are you an attorney or just a cover up artist? On another note: What is your response to the Asplundh hacked trees that throughout our communities? Overhead wires are so 20th century. I have an idea for you Bubriski - take this back to your company - Fp&L buries all overhead lines from the sub-feeder stations and with all of the money you now save from hiring Asplundh, you can put toward the cost of burying the lines and additional MW Plant locations.

We the people need to stand up to our government here in Florida to curb FP&L's control of power in this state. This is supposed to be the Sunshine State, yet because of FP&L's extensive funding of their lobbyists and discouraging our state government to support renewable energy to the people, we can not create a renewable energy incentive for the people. Since when does the power fall only to one and not everyone? Rise up people and control your surroundings!

Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2010/12/fpl-official-gives-his-company-special-treatment-in-scott-transition-report.html#ixzz19Q5jMpas

Paul Sicca

The new governor should look at the positive effect Feed in Tarriff had on the G'ville Regional Utility. It offers home owners options which places money in the hands of the consumer,(20 year contracts) creates jobs in solar gives FPL and other monopolies competition, reduces stress on families and makes our free enterprise system more rebust. Did I also mention it reduces the need for more power plants and the need lobby groups to harass the PSC for rate hikes yearly.

Paul S

ED S. Stated it well. We need PV Eelctric installtions on roof tops where transmission loss is almost nill. We also need independent companies, electricians, roofers, certified Solar Technicians, all available thru FLA-seia/FARE/etc. Using this avenue to conduct business....Watch Florida job market and economy GROW!!!

SunnySideUp

Looks like FPL is giving false hopes for Energy security and economic development. Yet again infiltrating to take advantage of Floridians. The real answer is here: www.FAREnergy.org to spur job creation. A Feed In Tariff structure has been proven to work.

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