Exposé on Nextera / FLP

Published in the Wellington Advertiser, Jan 21, 2011

I live in Arthur, Ontario, and am located in the middle of the study area of a proposed wind farm by NextEra Energy/FPL (Florida Power and Light Co.)  As a resident of the area, I am concerned with the project and its negative effects on the health of humans and livestock (there are several dairy, hog and poultry operations within the study area), coming from the audible and inaudible sounds emitted, as well as it being placed in a rural setting and disturbing the wildlife that lives in the local bush.  So in frustration I began researching the company of NextEra Energy as it is known in Canada, but in the United States it was known as FPL up until the Spring of 2010.  I was alarmed at what I found about this company, that prides itself on being one of the greenest energy companies.

On November 30, 2010, NextEra held a public consultation meeting in Drayton, Ontario regarding the proposed wind farm in Arthur.  Many of those that came to the meeting, heard over and over throughout the night, that NextEra owns and operates 9,000 turbines.  9,000 turbines equates into green credits, a lot of them.  Green credits, or Green-e Certifications can help offset a company’s carbon footprint, so to the public eye the company appears to be doing minimal damage to the environment.  This is the case with NextEra/FPL.

On the NextEra/FPL website you can find a map of the United States that shows the company’s portfolio of energy facilities.  More than two thirds of them are wind or solar, the other third are a combination of nuclear, natural gas, oil, and other.  The picture looks good.  However, another map on the home website of the company shows the generation facilities in the state of Florida alone.  The majority of electricity generated by FPL in Florida comes from oil/gas burning plants, as well as nulcear and coal plants. 

Therefore, the 9.000 turbines are there to offset NextEra’s massive carbon footprint.  One such example is a coal plant in neighbouring state Georgia, the Scherer Power Plant in Juliette, Georgia.  FPL owns 76% of unit 4 (there are 4 units in this plant).  This coal plant is the largest point-source of CO2 in the United States.  It emits annually, 27 million tons of carbon dioxide!  Scherer can burn through an average of three train loads of coal per day, which is shipped from Wyoming, 1800 miles away.

In the Sun Sentinel paper of Florida, it states that FPL has three of the top 12 dirtiest  plants in Florida, one of them being the Riviera Beach Plant, an oil/gas burning plant.  It has been in operation for nearly 50 years.  Plants that are built before the late 1970’s are exempt or partially exempt from tougher pollution standards.  Consequently, older plants can legally emit more nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides.  Many of these older generation power plants make up a substantial part of FPL’s portfolio.  The Wyman Station in Maine, owned by FPL as well, burns oil, it has also been in operation for nearly 50 years.  It was stated on the Natural Resources Council of Maine website that the Wyman Station power plant was the largest source of pollution in the state of Maine, releasing thousands of tons of air pollutants annually.  A year after this article was written the public and the Board of Environmental  Protection demanded that FPL clean up nitrogen oxide air pollution at the Wyman Station.  The plan did not allow FPL to purchase “pollution credits” as a way of avoiding the clean up.  So FPL had to install pollution control equipment at Wyman.  A report, from High Beam Research, following the installation of these cleaners, found that the Wyman Station power plant is still responsible for 43% of sulfur dioxide that is released into the air in the state of Maine.

One more notorious gas/oil power plant belonging to FPL is the Martin Power Plant in Florida.  The original power plant was permitted in 1972 and had a nameplate capacity of 400 MW.  Today the plant stands at 3750 MW and sits on 11, 300 acres.  It is the largest fossil fuel plant in the United States.  The Martin Power Plant is located next to Barley Barber Swamp, an important wetland ecologically and archeologically.  The wetland has all been but declared dead.  Analysis of this wetland has shown that it is being dewatered because of the massive draws of water that the Martin Power Plant requires for its cooling system.  This water used in the cooling process is sent back into the wetland full of expelled pollutants and effluent.  FPL’s Martin plant is not only responsible for the disastrous water usage, greenhouse emissions, and effluent intrusion, FPL has also betrayed their committment from 1973 (when the plant opened) that states, “The swamp containing several of Florida’s endangered species, will not only be saved, but also preserved and enhanced.”  The swamp shows imminent collapse.

NextEra Energy/FPL owns or has holdings in five nuclear plants in the United States.  The St. Lucie Nuclear Plant, owned by FPL, earned itself the distinction of being one of the worst run facilities in the nation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) just this past summer.  St. Lucie continues to have problems with critical safety systems.  The Turkey Point Nuclear facility, which is also owned by FPL, has been fined $70 000 for improperly maintaining highly radioactive spent fuel.

In a nuclear facility radioacitve waste is a by product.  This radioactive waste can include contaminated gases, liquids, and solids.  The radioactive waste management system is to collect, process and recycle or dispose of radioactive waste, or radwaste.  In some cases, radwaste is intentionally discharged into the environment, while in other circumstances is released accidentally.  Intentional and accidental discharges is regulated by the NRC.  The plant is to submit reports that disclose the amount and composition of the radwaste discharged.  In a pressure water reactor or a boiling water reactor liquid radwaste is collected through drains that capture plant spills or water from equipment that releases liquid radwaste periodically through the process, as well as water rejected from other systems due to chemistry problems.  This liquid radwaste is sent and stored in many tanks.  Here the water, or radwaste is cooled to allow the radioactive gases to be released and then collected.  When the radwaste reaches below a specified limit of radioactive material, it can be released into the environment.  However, there are times when the quantity of the liquid radwaste to be processed is too much for the radwaste management system to handle.  In this case, the radioactive waste would simply be discharged.  This has happened with both Florida facilities owned by FPL.They have had to shut down due threats from hurricanes making landfall in close proximity of these nuclear power plants.  There is much controversy over how this radioactive waste can effect humans.  Many believe, that the radioactive waste coming from these plants is a direct cause of the higher frequency in which cancer is being diagnosed in the areas downwind/downstream of these nuclear plants.

FPL/NextEra Energy stands behind everyone of their facilities, therefore we can conclude NextEra stands behind every fossil fuel burning plant, every molecule of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides or sulfur dioxide that is released into the atmoshere.  Every sanctuary for wildlife that is destroyed because of radioactive waste being discharged into it, or simply depleting an ecosystem of it’s lifeline, is supported by NextEra Energy/FPL.  Does this company sound like it is concerned with the planet that we live on, the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, or the community we live in?  No.  As usual with mammoth companies such as these, they are only concerned with the bottom line and securing more green credits to offset their green house gas emissions courtesy of another wind farm.  Is FPL the only one like this?  No.  Look at Suncor.  They operate wind turbines, but they also own the oil tar sands in Alberta.  Look at Invenergy.  They operate wind turbines too.  But, they also own and operate many natural gas fired power plants too.

Are we making a greener Ontario by putting up these Industrial Wind Turbines and in turn, supporting American companies who are guilty of contributing to the environmental predicament that we are in?  The bottom line is, No.

Elissa Krul, Arthur

16 thoughts on “Exposé on Nextera / FLP

  1. Good exposé of bad business!

    We know they are not green and not straight but now we know they both blow and glow.

  2. FPL is in the wind turbine game for both the money and the carbon off-sets they produce.

    FPL maybe anticipating thhat some form of Cap & Trade legislatio will still be passed in the U.S. They can use these carbon off-sets to cover up their dirty plants and not have tp pay for the CO2 permits that will be required in the U.S.

    Electricity has been bought and sold between Canada and the U.S. for ~ 50 years. The only problem seems to be the excess Ontario generation that has to be gotten rid of due to the wind turbines. So stop the take or pay contracts with the wind developers.

  3. The sale of the excess power at a loss was due to take or pay contracts between wind developers here and the Ontario Hydro system. This is not the fault of the U.S. power companies.

  4. FPL (Nextera is a new sister co.) was sued for the slaughter of birds in California:

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/birdkills1-12-04.htm

    “Altamont Pass wind turbines are causing extremely high levels of bird mortality along a major raptor migration route and are likely depleting eagle, hawk, and owl populations not only locally but throughout the western U. S.,” said Jeff Miller, spokesperson for CBD. “We absolutely support wind power, but it is past time for the primary turbine owners, FPL Energy and NEG Micon, to address this problem.”

    Not sure on the outcome, but if I had to guess, CBD got a sweet settlement out of the deal and FPL walked away a little unscaved.

    This was 7 years ago people…7 years ago.

  5. FPL is the company that shut down bat studies at one of their wind developments because researchers were finding thousands of dead bats. Not a few hundred, thousands. FPL cut off funding and banned researchers’ access to the sites. All the information gathered was considered property of FPL so they obviously hid it pretty fast. Industrial wind turbines are still operating with no restrictions.

  6. And FPL / Nextera is here today…alive and well in Aurthur, Ontario.
    Sorry my friends, we’re trying. And lest not forget our other friends:

    Red Tailed Hawks
    Marsh Hawks
    Osprey
    Great Horned Owls
    Great Blue Herons
    Egrets
    etc…

  7. Neat idea. Foreign companies install wind turbines in Ontario. Take the money and leave Ontarians in energy poverty.

  8. Barbara,

    Further to your comment, re: “Foreign companies install wind turbines in Ontario. Take the money and leave Ontarians in energy poverty.”

    We need to be aware of how many of these wind companies are “Limited Liability Corporations (LLC)” or “Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)”. Entities such as these (at least as far as I know) can–if times change and the subsidies dry up–cut their losses and hightail it back to whatever rock they originally crawled out from under. Leaving the taxpayers–whether municipal or provincial or federal–on the hook to clean up the mess and pay the bills!

  9. Now we should be able to see some serious crookery as opposed to this play acting…

    ***********
    http://www.thestar.com/business/markets/article/935344–olive-toronto-london-stock-merger-a-dream-for-investors?bn=1

    “The planned merger would put an end to Canadian securities-trading sovereignty. But investors will find that a small price to pay for the end of a tradition that began 150 years ago, when two dozen local businesspeople gathered at a Masonic hall to launch the Toronto Stock Exchange.”
    *****************

    Just think — people from all over the world can now share the bounty of Canadian Sheeple paying for Wind and Solar. Oh yummy! I can hardly wait!

  10. In addition to all eluded to here so far…

    I’m guessing all FPL (Nextera) “green” energy assets COMBINED likely don’t equal the capacity of even ONE of their large fossil-fueled pollution belchers!

    Just a guess!

    Now we know the real reason why CO2 “offset” numbers from the windy greenies are so egregiously bloated!

    BTW… was this sent to the OEB? I know, I know… What’s the point? Well in a later law suit (not “if” but “when”) the OEB could then not say they “didn’t know”!

    Here’s another thought:

    The above article should be re-created in point form on massive placards to be prominently displayed at Nextera’s next public meeting…

    Embarrass the bastards!

    B.B.W.

  11. To add to your comment Debbie, if
    you research the ownership of
    individual wind installations (i.e. under
    the ownership of Nextera or whomever)
    you will find that each project is a separate
    corporate entity. Therefore if you wanted
    to sue one of these entities, their only asset
    would be the turbines themselves.

  12. Nova Scotia Power/Emera honchos have been in bed wiith Florida Power and Light for years – NextEra bought the Pubnico Point IWTs – all the best to the D’Entremont family who were forced out of their home due to low freqency noise.

  13. FIT projects are all about the immediate almighty dollar for FPL. The OPA retains all rights to environmental attributes so FPL can only beat its chest back home on this, not use offsets from it to clean up its act.

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