Energy Options

Tallahassee Utilities officials say we can no longer rely solely on natural gas, and high utility bills are proof of that.

With the coal plant referendum looming they are looking at a variety of energy options and say coal should be in the mix.

Tallahassee commissioners and city utilities officials are taking part in what's called an IRP, or Integrated Resource Planning study. They're trying to find the cheapest, most reliable energy plan. There have been hundreds, and now they've narrowed it down. Five stood out, one including a partnership with the North Florida Power Project.

Supporters of the proposed coal plant in Taylor County say it's a must.

Kim Williams, the president of the Coalition for Environmental Oversight, says, "It's even more so that we have an opportunity to buy into that project and not just simply buy a re-sellable commodity from that project."

The Clean Air Coalition disagrees, and the group says it disagrees with most of the preliminary plans presented Monday. In fact, it brought its own energy plan, calling it “Plan B.” It includes clean renewable sources and efficiencies like solar power.

Ed Deaton, chairman, says, "The city promised us back in ‘91 they would have 10 percent renewables and efficiencies. They've missed a ton of opportunities since then and as a consequence we need to go back and go ahead. Let's implement this efficiency stuff."

The preliminary plans also include Tallahassee building its own coal-fired plant, relying on natural gas with and without re-powering Hopkins unit two.

Commissioners approved moving forward on that since they say it's such a money saver and it's included in four of the five base options. Now comes the next part of this process. All options will be further tested and they say hopefully they'll narrow it down to the best fit for Tallahassee.

Commissioners also said they want the city to look at what other communities are doing when it comes to demand and clean energy. They also want to look into studying the possibility of purchasing power from others.