Fields: FPLs Edifice Complex

Guest Columnist

You can’t help but be excited about the $400,000,000 solar array that Florida Power and Light opened in November.

You want to jump up and down for this 500-acre project in Martin County when you learn that it creates an environmentally friendly 75 megawatts of electricity.

You want to scream for joy when you find out that it will produce enough clean electricity to power 11,000 homes.

And of course you will kvell when you learn it is cutting edge technology that uses a solar array to create steam to run the turbines

Yes, it’s hard to not wet your pants about this projectunless you happen to have the math skills of a 4th grader and figure out that this is a green boondoggle.

Just divide $400,000,000 by 11,000 and you realize that is costing $36,363 per home!


Obey Fields Law, Save Money


Which brings me to Fields Law of Energy Conservation: “With the exception of solar hot water heaters, it costs at least 5 times as much to create a watt of electricity than it does to eliminate the need for that same watt of electricity.

At $5000 a home, this $400 million could have insulated and put solar hot water heaters in at least 80,000 homes. It would have eliminated the need for many times over that 75 megawatts of electricity that FPL will now get to sell us.

What a Republican idea!

Take $400 million and instead of giving it to one large corporation, give it to thousands of small businesses to install improvements in homes all over the state.  This was an opportunity lost.  Maybe next time.  The benefits of my plan for small business and homeowners are obvious.

Solar hot water heaters cut home electrical bills by 12-25 percent. Add in the insulation and we are looking at those 80,000 homes reducing their electrical demand by a third.

I speak not just from theory but from practical experience. Since moving into my house in 1989, I have cut my electrical bill roughly in half.

I haven’t turned into some Ed Begley type living like an energy hermit who recycles used toilet paper. To the contrary, I have added a freezer, wine cooler, computers, DVDs, big TV’s and a lot more.

But when the choice was there I bought the most efficient models. I started replacing incandescent bulbs in 1995. I also insulated the hell out of my 1978 house.

What I Did

Three years ago I put in a solar hot water heater. When I replaced the A.C., I went with 18.5 SEER and a timer that turns it off when no one is home. I replaced the leaky A.C. ducts and a lot more and there is still more I can do.

I keep my electrical bills and I can proudly say that I have cut my usage by over 1000 kilowatts-a-month.

Dollars wise it means that over the last 15 years I have saved way over $20,000, which is a hell of a lot more than I spent on all of these efficiency upgrades.

Here is the good news.  If my plan was followed, FPL does not need to build one new watt of capacity over the next decade.

The bad news is that this does not fit into the FPL business model that more capacity means more profit.

I am wise enough to know that most people cannot afford to pay cash for all these improvements.

The solution is to allow financing through our monthly electric bill.  The energy reduction will more than offset the loan costs.  And once the improvements are paid off, it’s a permanent windfall.

The state needs to allow utilities companies to issue tax exempt bonds to cover the capital outlay.  FPL can certainly charge borrowers a reasonable interest rate.

And as a bonus, this plan would put thousands to work with jobs that would benefit all of us.

It’s a win-win idea which is more than I can say about FPL’s Martin County boondoggle.

3 Responses to “Fields: FPLs Edifice Complex”

  1. S.O.B. says:

    More than that, I remember FP&L asking the users to GIVE them $$ like $ 7.95 or $ 8.95 a month, for FREE, as a GIFT, and they would use this $$ to build green production facility…imagine we give them the $$ to build and then charge us for the POWER, what an idea. I can never get thru the idea that we pay for their plants, and then power cost us??? Remember the fees we are paying so they can repair hurricane damage??What are stock and bond holders for?? Imagine PUBLIX asking for a gift of $$ from the public so they can pay for the UPS power systems in their stores, so their food will not spoil in a power outage ???? Hmmmm smell a rat here, could it be the PSC or who ??

  2. Jehova says:

    you don’t believe in Hell so how could you insulate it out of your house?

  3. nottinamazesme says:

    Sam: Wanna save even more $$$$$ ???
    Replace every bulb with an LED bulb and install a capacitor to your electrical box. You won’t believe the nosedive your FPL bill will take.