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… Consumers for Smart Solar is funded by utilities and front groups seeking to prevent changes to state law that would open the solar market in Florida and specifically allow third party solar leases. Third party solar accounted for 72 precent of residential solar installed across the country in 2014. Instead, the utility-backed ballot initiative would continue to restrict the solar market in Florida by writing into the state constitution that homeowners and businesses cannot use third party solar leases” (Gabe Elsner, Energy and Policy Institute).
Funding to Consumers for Smart Solar for Amendment 1 as of Oct. 28, 2016, Energy and Policy Institute, CC-BY
Funding to Consumers for Smart Solar for Amendment 1 as of Oct. 28, 2016, Energy and Policy Institute

FPL and Duke have recently announced that they are moving forward with proposed Toshiba AP1000 Nuclear Reactors; Southern is currently trying to build one in Georgia. FPL and Duke are Florida’s two largest electric utilities:
October 31, 2016 — Florida’s two largest electric utilities and their allies have contributed another $3.5 million into the political action committee attempting to pass Amendment 1, a deceptive ballot initiative which would set back the growth of solar power in Florida, according to new data released today by the Florida Division of Elections.http://www.energyandpolicy.org/florida-anti-solar-amendment/ See more: http://www.energyandpolicy.org/florida-amendment-1/

What could be more natural than solar for the “Sunshine State”? In fact, most of the world could be run off of solar energy. But, the utilities don’t want rooftop solar. They want “customers” dependent upon them.
US NREL Solar

Florida Solar Energy Industries Association, Vote No on One
Screenshot from video by FLASEIA (Florida Solar Energy Industries Association): http://youtu.be/tPODcT3cckI
Video showing the ballot and explaining the issue: http://youtu.be/XPPr16A0UaA
A few lines from original data in descending order of contributions. See more at bottom of our page):
Consumers for Smart Solar cropped
http://dos.elections.myflorida.com/committees/ComDetail.asp?account=64817

Already a 2006 Florida law has “created a regime (the “Nuclear Cost Recovery System”), which makes ratepayers into involuntary investors in nuclear projects, charges them interest on their own money, and never returns their “investment”. When the projects are abandoned, the utilities keep the money and collect even more, says a recent class action lawsuit. Furthermore, the lawsuit states that “the Nuclear Cost Recovery System violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by discriminating against all out-of-state energy providers. It also discriminates against energy producers in Florida that use other sources of energy. The Florida law provides financial immunity to private utilities in Florida which seek to build nuclear power plants, thereby favoring select utilities in Florida at the expense of everyone else. The Commerce Clause not only forbids discrimination against out-of-state businesses; it also forbids favoring in-state businesses over others” (William B. Newton and Noreen Allison et. al. vs. Duke Energy and FPLC, 2/22/2016, p. 4, Emphasis our own – See entire reference-link at blog post bottom)

Nuclear power cannot possibly survive in a real free-market capitalist society. That’s why the biggest nuclear players are French government owned EDF-Areva (and subsidiaries) and Russian government owned Rosatom (and subsidiaries). How has Toshiba’s Westinghouse survived? “Toshiba confirms SEC investigation as accounting woes spread to US/ Securities commission and justice department examining ‘accounting problem’ at US units, says Japanese corporation, amid profit-padding crisishttps://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/mar/18/toshiba-confirms-sec-investigation-as-accounting-woes-spread-to-us Plus Toshiba is getting US government and ratepayer subsidies, and probably Japanese ones. And, “Toshiba is a member of the Mitsui keiretsu (a set of companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings), and still has preferential arrangements with Mitsui Bank and the other members of the keiretsu.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshiba

From the Energy and Policy Institute:
Monday, October 31, 2016
Utilities, Allies Pour $3.5 million more into Anti-Solar Amendment 1; total now over $26 million
Florida Power & Light now the biggest bankroller of a ballot campaign in Florida history; Duke Energy second

October 31, 2016 — Florida’s two largest electric utilities and their allies have contributed another $3.5 million into the political action committee attempting to pass Amendment 1, a deceptive ballot initiative which would set back the growth of solar power in Florida, according to new data released today by the Florida Division of Elections.

Florida Power & Light (FPL) led the charge for Florida’s utilities with a contribution of $2 million on October 24. FPL has contributed a total of $8,055,000 to Consumers for Smart Solar, the utility-funded group behind Amendment 1, and now holds the unenviable record for having spent the most money on a single ballot effort in the history of Florida.

Duke Energy contributed $999,998 on October 25. It has now spent $6,736,998 million and moved into second place for spending on a single ballot effort in Florida history, having surpassed Sheldon Adelson’s 2014 contributions totaling $5.5 million to the Drug Free Florida committee, an effort to stop the legalization of medical marijuana.

The Tampa Electric Company (TECO) added $160,000 on October 19. Two front groups, the Koch-backed 60 Plus Association, and “Let’s Preserve the American Dream,” a committee affiliated with Associated Industries of Florida, each added $250,000 respectively on October 28.

Duke and FPL’s new round of contributions came a week after the Miami Herald broke the story that Sal Nuzzo, the vice president of policy for a utility-funded think tank that has supported Amendment 1, conceded in a leaked audio recording that utilities created Amendment 1 as an act of “political jiu-jitsu” to “negate” the efforts of solar advocates.

“This latest cash dump by FPL and Duke is a desperate effort to buy an election with a flood of last-ditch deceptive advertisements,” said David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute. “But the public is rapidly learning that Amendment 1 is an anti-solar wolf in sheep’s clothing. No amount of utility money can hide the truth.”

All four of the utilities backing Amendment 1 have made corporate commitments to communicate honestly with the public. NextEra Energy, the parent company of FPL, maintains in its Code of Business Conduct & Ethics that “we always communicate truthfully with the public.” Duke Energy also has a standing commitment to “communicate honestly and truthfully with the public.”

Consumers for Smart Solar is not yet the most well-funded ballot initiative effort in Florida’s history, but it is on track to set the record. With more than a week of data left to report, CSS has raised a total of $26,118,915. Floridians for Patient Protection raised $28,977,457 in 2004, but that campaign had to spend money to get two different ballot measures approved.

Of the $26 million CSS has collected, over $20 million has come directly from Florida’s big four utilities: FPL, Duke, TECO and Gulf Power, a Southern Company subsidiary. Research by the Energy and Policy Institute revealed that only 12 individual consumers have contributed to CSS, and 11 of them are affiliated with the campaign. CSS has raised a total of $10 from unaffiliated consumers.

The Energy and Policy Institute has documented all current Consumers for Smart Solar contributions here.http://www.energyandpolicy.org/florida-amendment-1/
Florida Power & Light’s parent company, NextEra Energy, reported today a profit of $753 million for the 3rd quarter of 2016 alone.
Posted by David Pomerantz David Pomerantz is the Executive Director of the Energy and Policy Institute. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License by Energy and Policy Institute
http://www.energyandpolicy.org/florida-anti-solar-amendment/ (Emphasis our own; see embedded links at the original; More from the Energy and Policy Institute is both at the link and below, at the bottom of this blog page.)

Florida Nuclear Reactors Sinkholes May Not Just Be Financial.

Clearly due to the ability of the nuclear utilities to dump the costs of new nuclear reactors onto the consumer (ratepayer) and the wish by utilities to keep the public dependent upon them, rather than independent with rooftop solar, both Duke Energy and Florida Power and Light have recently decided to move forward with Toshiba-owned Westinghouse AP 1000 nuclear reactors. But, why is the US NRC ignoring sinkhole risks, hurricane risks and possible earthquake risks? Is the US NRC owned by Japan’s Westinghouse and the nuclear utilities?
On October 20, 2016, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission cleared the way for the agencies Office of New Reactors to issue two (2) Combined Licenses (COLs) for the Levy County site. Based on the mandatory hearing on Duke’s application, the NRC found the staff’s review adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings. The licenses will authorize Duke Energy Florida to build and operate two AP1000 reactors at the site, near Inglis in Levy Countyhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levy_County_Nuclear_Power_Plant http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2016/16-060.pdf

On Nov. 2, 2016 there was another stunning and frightening announcement:
NRC, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Issue Final Environmental Impact Statement For Proposed Turkey Point Reactors in Florida
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has concluded there are no environmental impacts to preclude issuing Combined Licenses to build and operate two reactors next to the existing Turkey Point nuclear power plant, about 20 miles south of Miami…
Issuing the statement is part of the overall Turkey Point licensing review. The NRC staff continues to work on the project’s final safety evaluation report, which will include a review by the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, an independent group of nuclear safety experts

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2016/16-062.pdf

The US NRC raised concerns about sinkholes and earthquake possibilities near Turkey Point Nuclear Power Station in February of 2015: “The Technos 2009 Geophysical Survey for Karst Characterization at Proposed Units 6 and 7 Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant describes a filled sinkhole at Jewfish Creek, within 10 miles of TPNPP. Technos describes the filled sinkhole: The sinkhole at Jewfish Creek is ~1900 ft across and estimated to be more than 600 feet deep, based upon seismic and microgravity data…
Newly published data (D. Kula, August, 2014*) (high resolution seismic reflection, multibeam bathymetry and sub-bottom parasound profiles) reveal Quaternary-aged tectonic structures in the Santaren Channel and the Straits of Florida within 80 miles of TPNPP. Seafloor displacements are observed in all data types
.” See more here: http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1505/ML15050A155.pdf

The risk of karst-sinkholes in the area of the proposed Levy Co. Nuclear Reactor (near Tampa) is well documented: “Levy County, FL AP 1000 Hearings Document libraryhttp://www.nirs.org/nukerelapse/levy/levyhome.htm
http://www.nirs.org/nukerelapse/levy/3bexhibitint501rebuttaltestimonygarethdavies73112.pdf

Why does the US NRC wish to stop monitoring-investigating alcohol and drug use at nuclear power stations? Are they tacitly condoning use of drugs and alcohol at nuclear sites? One can but wonder if they themselves are too drugged up or drunk to understand that this is a problem and that nuclear reactors in a hurricane and sinkhole prone state pose an especially severe hazard?Remember to comment by Friday 11.59 pm Washington DC time: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/marijuana-found-in-2-nuclear-power-station-protected-areas-within-2-weeks-tell-nrc-to-keep-monitoring-investigating-drugs-alcohol-deadline-friday-11-59-pm-eastern/ https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/tell-us-nrc-to-keep-monitoring-nuclear-workers-for-drugs-and-alcohol-deadline-friday-4th-nov-11-59-et/

More on the Anti-Solar Ballot Initiative

From the Energy and Policy Institute:”Yes on 1 for the Sun: The Anti-Solar Ballot Initiative from Utilities and Fossil Fuel Interests

The Koch Brothers and utility-funded Consumers for Smart Solar unveiled its amendment ballot campaign, Yes on 1 for the Sun, to restrict the solar market in Florida, by Gabe Elsner

The Florida utility-backed anti-solar initiative officially launched their campaign to block solar leasing in the sunshine state with the confusing name, “Yes on 1 for the sun.” The utility-backed group, called the “Consumers for Smart Solar” has been funded by nearly $7 million in contributions from the investor-owned utilities and fossil fuel front groups to date.

Energy & Policy Institute previously revealed that Consumers for Smart Solar is funded by utilities and front groups seeking to prevent changes to state law that would open the solar market in Florida and specifically allow third party solar leases. Third party solar accounted for 72 precent of residential solar installed across the country in 2014.

Instead, the utility-backed ballot initiative would continue to restrict the solar market in Florida by writing into the state constitution that homeowners and businesses cannot use third party solar leases. Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone writes: “Key policies that have spurred a rooftop solar revolution elsewhere in America are absent or actually illegal in Florida. Unlike the majority of states, even Texas, Florida has no mandate to generate any portion of its electricity from renewable power. Worse, the state’s restrictive monopoly utility law forbids anyone but the power companies from buying and selling electricity. Landlords cannot sell power from solar panels to tenants. Popular solar leasing programs like those offered by SolarCity and Sunrun are outlawed.

In the battle between the utilities and pro-clean energy advocates in Florida, the utility-backed Consumers for Smart Solar drove up the cost of petition signatures in Florida, rendering the pro-solar ballot initiative (spearheaded by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy) unable to raise enough funds to overcome the vast resources of the monopoly utility companies. Rolling Stone reported, “utilities crushed the [pro-solar] Solar Choice campaign by spending it into submission. Qualifying an amendment for the ballot in Florida is onerous and expensive under the best of circumstances.”

The Consumers for Smart Solar campaign also worked to confuse petition-signers by using the same language as the real pro-solar campaign. While gathering petition signatures, the utility-backed initiative would talk about “solar choice,” mirroring the name of the pro-solar ballot initiative, Floridians for Solar Choice.

Yet the misinformation continues now that the utilities launching their ballot initiative as the “Yes on 1 for the sun” campaign. George Orwell noted in his essay, “Politics and the English Language,” that political speech serves to distort reality, saying “In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity.”

The utility-backed ballot initiative is certainly insincere about it’s intentions – instead of “for the sun” the utilities are working to confuse voters and cement public policy that squashes the free market and eliminates competition coming from the distributed solar industry.

Perhaps Florida should change it’s moniker from the “Sunshine State” to the “Investor-owned Utility State”, where citizens and businesses are simply not allowed to use the free market to generate their own power, because the monopoly utilities have enough funding and political power to keep it that way.

Gabe Elsner is the founder and executive director of the Energy & Policy Institute. He is a thought leader on defending policies from attacks by incumbent energy interests and his work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Daily Mail, The Australian, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. The Energy & Policy Institute’s work has protected dozens of public policies that support the growth of the clean-tech industry. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License by Energy and Policy Institutehttp://www.energyandpolicy.org/yes-on-1-for-the-sun-the-anti-solar-ballot-initiative-from-utilities-and-fossil-fuel-interests/

WILLIAM B. NEWTON and NOREEN ALLISON, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. DUKE ENERGY FLORIDA, LLC, a Florida Limited Liability Company, and FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT COMPANY, a Florida Profit Corporation Defendants.” Case 0:16-cv-60341-XXXX Document 1 Entered on FLSD Docket 02/22/2016 37 pages: https://www.hbsslaw.com/uploads/case_downloads/florida_energy/fpandlanddukeenergyflorida_class_action_lawsuit_02-22-16.pdf

In case you can’t believe that something so insane can really be true, here are the official numbers, in descending order. The entire document wouldn’t fit as a screen shot:
Consumers for Smart Solar Major Donors
http://dos.elections.myflorida.com/committees/ComDetail.asp?account=64817