Sunday, May 15, 2016

FPL and NextEra Energy, Inc.: between a rock and a hard place in South Florida ... by gimleteye

On May 19th, the big brother of FPL -- NextEra Energy, Inc. -- will hold its annual meeting. Instead of facing critics in Florida (FPL's corporate headquarters are in Juno Beach), top executives chose a foxhole meeting in Oklahoma City.

Yesterday FPL brushed off Miami protesters against the leaking nuclear reactors at Turkey Point.

FPL has announced it will shift costs of cleaning up pollution at Turkey Point to ratepayers. The $50 million is a fraction of what will be needed to reverse the damage and halt future impacts.

Here is my guest OPED printed by the Herald, last week.

Miami Herald OP-ED
MAY 10, 2016 5:24 PM
FPL’s parent company should issue annual reports on sea-level rise

Request was made as S. Florida faces doomsday scenarios due to global warming
FPL is fighting the proposal
Our economy is dependent on real-estate development on the shoreline

As the devastating facts of climate change pile up — severe droughts, extreme flooding, species migration through warming and rising oceans — the question arises: What will change corporate behavior?

My wife and I decided we needed to act. This year, we filed a shareholder proposal to our power company, NextEra Energy, which owns Florida Power & Light. Our proposal deals with the inevitable risks from sea-level rise.

Our shareholder proposal is simple. We are asking that the company issue annual reports to shareholders on the risk from sea-level rise, under a range of scenarios, according to the best available science. By issuing the report to shareholders, the public and government officials will also be able to review the information. Although the resolution we have proposed is nonbinding, it sends a clear signal: NextEra needs to tell shareholders what it knows about the risk from sea-level rise.

As residents of Miami, our city is often cited among the world’s most vulnerable areas to rising seas. We already are seeing the results: hotter weather, extreme rainfall events and high tides that have pushed some municipalities, like Miami Beach, to make $500 million in sewer improvements. In Miami-Dade County alone, fortifying infrastructure is a multibillion-dollar concern, yet the supplier of our electricity is silent.

Florida Power & Light is NextEra’s largest subsidiary. It provides electricity for 4.8 million ratepayers along Florida’s east coast, which makes the company and its shareholders extraordinarily vulnerable to the financial disruptions of climate change. The United Nations climate panel projects three feet of sea-level rise; however, scientists behind a new study published in the journal Nature conclude that levels could actually rise almost twice as much as previously predicted by the end of this century.

Here, the economy is largely dependent on real estate development at the shoreline. Most of South Florida is scarcely a few feet above sea level and is home to one of the nation’s oldest nuclear facilities: Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point.

At the same time, Florida Power & Light is waging an extraordinarily costly effort to win the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval of two new nuclear plants next to the aging ones at Turkey Point.

Sadly, yet unsurprisingly, the company opposes our proposal. It first tried to block its approval when the Securities and Exchange Commission was reviewing our submission. Now, NextEra claims that shareholders do not need to be concerned with the rising sea and is calling the proposal a “waste of time and money.”

Management seems to be saying: We like making our money the old-fashioned way. We’ll change, when the circumstances warrant. By that time, it will be too late for many of us who live in Florida. And shareholders across the country will also suffer the consequences.

NextEra executives may be able to afford to pick up and leave for higher ground, but what happens to the rest of us?

Alan Farago is president of Friends of the Everglades.
Read more here:


Anonymous said...

'Tip of the hat' for your shareholder efforts!
There must be some theory of legal liability such that FPL is responsible for negligent management costs that can thus not be shifted to us suckers....errrrr....ratepayers.

Get solar panels!
If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Alexandria said...

FPL executives belong in prison. The fact that every acronym knows that Turkey Point is a disaster is the real crime. The EPA and all the rest know and have been told to stand down is just unbelievable. But those are the cold hard facts.The nuclear workers are blackballed for life if they open their mouths. FPL has been mixing money at Turkey Point and St. Lucie for years that in itself is against the law. Maintenance went out the window in the 80's shareholders are getting Madoff returns so they do not care if their grandchildren glow in the dark or have drinking water. Hell isn't deep enough for this coverup.

Hayes C. Bowen said...

I attended Commissioner Cava's discussion last Thursday night in Palmetto Bay that addressed the cooling canal issues currently occurring at Turkey Point. I am shocked, amazed and saddened that this environmental crisis that is ruining our natural resources in South Miami-Dade is not being talked about at every dinner table in this county. I had no idea what is happening to Biscayne National Park, the wildlife within and our threatened fresh water wells just inland of this facility. It's nothing short of criminal and FPL must be held accountable despite Gov. Rick Scott telling every government agency to back off and stand down.

Anonymous said...

The media has no repercussions on printing false reports or ones lacking any research. They will regurgitate anything they deem viable or that fits in with their agenda.
FPL DOES have liability and must report to local, state and federal governments regularly on their operations and environmental impact. They would not get away with displaying false information on the condition of the plant or environmental problems.
What you're reading in the news is nothing but a coordinated media blitz probably funded by anti-nuclear environmental activists. They want to create waves to slow down the construction of a third reactor.
There is no leak at Turkey Point, there is no problem with the cooling canals, there is no crisis.

*Note: I am NOT an FPL employee, just a neighbor close to Turkey Point who actually researches hot button issues related to my neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Oklahoma?? How nice! Did you know FPL ratepayers(customers) pay for fracking
in Oklahoma? This was ordered as per the 5 Rick Scott cronies in the PSC.

I guess they want to see how their fracking is doing! So disgusting!

Beth Kibler said...

Anon 1 Seriously? FPL themselves acknowledge that there's seepage west from the cooling canals. They're working out a plan with the county to band aid the problem by using even more of our water resources to flush the plume east away from our wells. Glad Tampa Bay Times picked up on your work Gimleteye.