MIAMI—Thanks to strong business, government and public support, Florida is well-positioned to build new nuclear power plants to meet the state’s fast-growing electricity needs, Nuclear Energy Institute President Emeritus Joe F. Colvin said in a speech here today.
With Florida’s population expected to increase 30 percent and the state’s electricity demand projected to grow 76 percent by 2030, new nuclear plants would provide additional energy diversity to the state as well as the nation, Colvin said.
Speaking before the Miami Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors and Trustees Luncheon, Colvin praised the Florida Legislature for recognizing the state’s need for large power plants when it passed the Florida Renewable Energy Technologies and Energy Efficiency Act. The measure directs the state’s Public Service Commission to consider fuel diversity and reliability when considering a new power plant.
“This law provides companies building new nuclear plants a high degree of assurance that they will be able to recover their investment and is an insightful model for other states in the Southeast,” Colvin said.
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization with offices in Washington, D.C.
Colvin also praised Florida Power & Light Co. and Progress Energy for their commitment to file new plant license applications with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2009 and 2008 respectively. Their leadership, coupled with strong support evidenced by a recent national poll showing 76 percent of Americans saying that the nation should prepare now to build new nuclear plants, bodes well for the possibility of new nuclear plants in Florida, he said.
“Each energy source has its advantages and its corresponding uses in our electricity generating system, which taken together complement one another. But nuclear power is unique in that it can provide inexpensive baseload generation while emitting no air pollutants or greenhouse gases,” Colvin said.
Colvin cited three catalysts spurring the interest in new nuclear plants for which Florida is a microcosm for the nation:
increasing demand and the desire to ensure there will be an adequate supply of electricity during peak periods of demand;
uncertainty about future emission restrictions on coal-fired generating capacity and the cost of meeting those tighter limits on emissions; and
concern about the chronic volatility in natural gas prices resulting from supply fluctuations tied to the preponderance of gas-fired plant construction over the past 15 years.
Florida receives 13 percent of its electricity from the state’s five nuclear reactors, which prevent the emission annually of nearly 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the primary component of greenhouse gases. The state also depends on natural gas for 56 percent of its electricity.
“New nuclear plant construction can help rebalance fuel diversity in the electricity sector while providing electricity at stable prices,” Colvin said.
He pointed to the potential for nuclear energy to enhance the nation’s energy security in the electricity sector as a means of providing power for plug-in hybrid cars that would reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil in the transportation sector, and the key role it can play in an emission-free hydrogen economy.
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org.