Florida Politics Play Role in Timing of Babcock Ranch Eco-City Project Announcement


What a ranch has to do with waterside cafes is beyond me, but at least it's not called Snowberry Cobble... image: Babcock Ranch

Adding a twist to the Babcock Ranch eco-city announcement is a piece from HeraldTribune.com. It questions the political motivations of the timing on this announcement, as well as the financing of the project (not to mention showing the value in local political news coverage):Florida governor Charlie Crist has been pressuring Florida utilities to add more solar power to their energy portfolios: Trying to pass legislation that would require 20% renewable energy by 2020.

This has caused some renewable energy advocates to wonder if the timing of this announcement wasn't politically motivated on the part of Florida Power & Light, so as to push forward that legislation. Legislation that would favor large companies over small, and possibly cause higher prices for consumers.

Distributed Power Would Be Better Option

"The timing of this is suspiciously motivated to make sure they get the legislation they want in Tallahassee and extend their monopoly over renewable energy," said John Burges, a Sarasota-based expert on renewable energy financing.

Burgess went on to make the point that requiring solar water heaters and "aggressively marketing the option of rooftop solar panels" for every home would be a better option than one big power plant.

Finances Have Troubled Project
The article goes on to describe the partnership as a coup for Kitson & Partners, which due to the collapsed housing market was having trouble financing Babcock Ranch—having to lay off half its employees, and creating doubt from Market Watch that the project would be built on time.

Power Plant Will Be Built, Even If Ranch Isn't
For its part, Florida Power & Light has said that even if not a single home of Babcock Ranch gets built it is committed to the 75 MW solar power plant. If the giant subdivision doesn't come off (it really seems more of a giant housing subdivision than a city, save for a one area of dense development), FPL says it will just feed the power into the grid.

via: HeraldTribune.com
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Tags: Cities | Florida | Renewable Energy | Solar Power | United States | Urban Planning

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