The Feb. 2 letter, Nuclear energy can lead to economic opportunities, extolling the virtues of employment at the Turkey Point nuclear reactor misses the mark on nuclear reactor economics. The piece failed to mention that the FPL reactors are prohibitively expensive to construct — with an estimated price tag of about $20 billion. A Florida law allows FPL to push all the cost and risk of constructing the plant on to you and me — the customer. Even if the plant never gets built, FPL is allowed to protect its shareholders by recovering all of its construction costs from customers. During the nuclear building boom of the ‘70s, many reactor projects were abandoned due to soaring costs and a drop in electricity demand. If FPL abandons its project, that could leave customers on the financial hook.
Instead of chasing speculative reactor projects, FPL should prioritize meeting demand through energy efficiency programs that costs less than new generation. It’s a low-cost, low-risk option that benefits everyone because efficiency is what keeps costs down. Energy efficiency can meet electricity demand at a fraction of the cost of building new power plants.
Yet, FPL’s performance in helping customers reduce energy use and save money on their bills pales in comparison to the energy savings achieved by leading utilities in other states.
The real economic benefit from the energy sector comes from diversifying our energy mix into clean resources such as energy efficiency and renewable energy development.
State lawmakers could help customers and the workforce by adopting policies that encourage clean energy development — instead of costly, speculative reactor projects.
Cindy Lerner, mayor, Pinecrest
George Cavros, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Fort Lauderdale