Florida Power & Light is fairly notorious as a utility that embraces competition so long as it doesn’t happen in their service territory. On the regulatory side, they have worked pretty hard to make sure that no one can build power in their state except themselves. But on the unregulated side, their sister company FPL Energy has been one of the leading installers of wind turbines. (Not coincidentally, you will find that they tend not to do projects anywhere near Florida. Mind the hand that feeds you … )
Needless to say, there are some conflicts there. Which have recently come back to bite them.
First, in 2005:
…when making an unsuccessful effort to build a coal-fired power plant in St. Lucie … FPL officials said Florida wasn’t windy enough for wind power …
Then, in 2007, presumably for some other self-serving reason:
FPL told the state Public Service Commission it favored solar over wind projects because even Florida’s offshore coastal winds are below the 17 mph needed to efficiently generate power, especially in summer when electricity usage peaks …
And now, in 2008:
Florida Power & Light, the nation’s largest provider of wind energy, says placing nine of these [wind turbines] across from its St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant — three on beachfront state conservation land and six on property the company owns — would power 3,000 homes. And the company thinks the sight of the giant turbines would stimulate demand for similar wind farms across the state by a citizenry eager to do its part to halt global warming.
Good news for wind, right? Maybe not, because having convinced everyone in the state that wind power didn’t make sense, they’re now getting Cape Wind-esque opposition from county commissioners and local environmental groups, many of whom are using their own words against them.
Love the sinner, hate the sin, right?