Thursday, June 7, 2018

Babcock Ranch aims to be first solar-powered town in US | USA News | Al Jazeera

Babcock Ranch aims to be first solar-powered town in US | USA News | Al Jazeera:

This is in partnership with FPL (Nextera) for the power. The powerplant is already up and running that will support an almost 200,000 home community.  FPL has extended the solar to include 10 megawatts of battery, thus allowing the solar power plant to offer more flexibility to the power grid and on-demand peaking power.

The 440 acres for the power plant (now with about 350,000 PV panels) were donated to FPL at the Babcock Ranch. The whole town is 100% electric with electric trolley and charging stations. They even have SolarTrees(tm) for you to charge your phone or laptop in the park and demonstrate how solar works.

This city is west of LaBelle on the way toward Ft Meyers. Very sustainable. Now has several developers building and each home has the "option" to have solar installed.

Here's another take with a human touch from FoxNews. Talking about the first people to move into the "city" and the first baby to be born in Babcock Ranch.

This is a very cool example of how a city can be built from the ground up as sustainable -- zero carbon footprint, as it pertains to electricity. There is the obvious question, however, of urban sprawl to suburbia, that has had suburban sprawl.

In a city, with lots and lots of impermeable surfaces (roofs and parking lots), it would be very possible to retrofit the sustainability solutions.

Way to go FPL. Within five years (2023), FPL plans to produce more from solar than from coal+NatGas combined. Additionally, FPL's sister company FPL Energy is the largest wind producer in the US, and 2nd largest in the world. !:-)  ... NextEra is the publicly ~$75B market cap holding company (NEE).

FPL does have some nuclear, with plans and approval for expansion. The Turkey Point plant has been problematic and has its own set of issues. Leaks in the cooling canals, and no real plan for ways to store nuclear waste, has the Sierra Club (a group that should generally be friendly to nuclear) up in arms.  They also don't like some of the sweet-heart deals for FPL that have been approved (rubber-stamped) by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). The sneaky and deceptive amendment on the Florida ballet last year -- a move designed to kill solar -- by the southern power companies (in which FPL donated $8m) is still fresh in the minds of Floridians.

Nuclear in general has issues in the future energy mix. Nuclear is wonderful for base load, but not great as a peaking power source. If/when we move seriously and definitively toward solar in Florida, there should be high renewable energy at various times throughout the day, and none during rain or at night, so nuclear continues to be less effective. See how California is planning the retirement of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and looking for other forms of peaking power as more and more power comes from renewables. Nuclear plants seem to have no plan, of any kind, as to what to do with nuclear wast; the only plan seems to be to hold on-site forever.

At some point the power monopolies need to deal with the reality that every home and every business can and will generate part or all of their electricity. This means that the future of the grid is connecting power creators with power consumers using a smart grid and dynamic pricing. Part of the day I may be a net producer, part of the night I may be a net consumer. One analogy of this type of Smart Grid is to think of it like the Internet. Sometimes I'm uploading content, sometimes I'm downloading. The Internet directs from where power is produced, to where it is needed. The Smart Grid power company will be more like the Internet Service Provider (ISP) of old by providing power as needed, where needed. The internet of things (IoT), but with power, is essentially what we're talking about. Maybe the Energy of Everything (EoE)?:-)

Power companies need a new business model (currently the model is based on ROE with the PSC assuring prices that justify a good return on investment). Producing and selling more and more electricity to make more and more money is a broken model. Building bigger and grander centralized power plants is horribly inefficient; about 60% of energy is lost in the production (steam) and distribution.

We are really glad to see FPL's effort into solar. Florida, and NextEra, could do more. Time for the power monopolies to make the change before they get overrun. The power model is changing... Trying to block this massive change is a little like stacking rocks in front of a glacier ...

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