The Florida Public Service Commission demands that electrical utilities provide reliable power at reasonable rates. Despite this mandate, Gov. Charlie Crist signed a series of executive orders requiring utility companies to begin work by Sept. 1 towards generating at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources with an emphasis on solar and wind energy.
Although well-intentioned, these executive orders were apparently signed without considering that Florida does not have high-intensity sunlight as found in low-humidity deserts and lacks sufficient wind energy to make wind turbines feasible. See http://rredc.nrel.gov/wind/pubs/atlas/maps/. The text accompanying the wind maps on the referenced website, reads, “There is little wind energy potential in the Southeast region for existing wind turbine applications. Even along coastal areas, existing data from exposed sites indicate at best only Class 2 at 50 meter (164 feet) above ground.”
In a good faith effort to comply with the executive order, FPL has proposed to install wind turbines along the Treasure Coast beaches to “help determine what the future of wind is in Florida.”
Based on the wind energy data cited above, the result of this experiment can be accurately predicted with confidence before building a single turbine.
The question remains, why bother to conduct the experiment? Unless the governor can also sign an executive order that will guarantee more favorable wind energies in Florida, the proposed project should be abandoned, and St. Lucie County commissioners can turn their attention to more important issues.
Ken R. Olen
17 December 2007
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