Florida regulators approve Duke settlement, ending the Levy nuclear project
- The Florida Public Service Commission approved a wide-ranging settlement with Duke Energy, bringing an end to the utility's proposed Levy nuclear project while also ensuring more solar, smart meters and grid improvements.
- Under the settlement, Duke Energy Florida LLC will build about 175 MW of solar generation each year for four years, and can seek base rate increases to pay for the projects beginning in 2019.
- Beginning next year, Duke customers in Florida will pay about $124 per 1,000 kWh, a rate which includes a reduction of $4.65/1,000 kWh related to the now discontinued Levy project.
The settlement will go into effect beginning 2018, and will include investments of nearly $6 billion over four years, while minimizing the impact on customer bills, according to Duke.
All told, the settlement calls for 700 MW of solar, install electric vehicle charging stations and rolls out a battery storage pilot program. The settlement was proposed in August.
Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida state president, said the settlement would allow the utility to move forward with projects while giving customers and stakeholders what they want. "We will be able to provide cleaner, more reliable energy along with more information, allowing our customers to better manage their energy needs," he said in a statement.
The settlement included several consumer advocates, including: the state's Office of Public Counsel, the Florida Industrial Power Users Group, the Florida Retail Federation, White Springs Agricultural Chemicals, d/b/a PCS Phosphate, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
While customer rates will decline, Duke said the portion of residential, commercial and industrial customer bills associated with the settlement will increase approximately 1% to 3% annually in 2019-2021, or about the same as the rate of inflation.
Ending the proposed nuclear development in Levy County, Fla., means Duke will not recover about $150 million in remaining customer costs.
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