After the Coal Vote

The Leon County Canvassing Board this afternoon approved the results of Tallahassee’s coal referendum, and in that referendum, voters said coal should be an energy option for Tallahassee. So, what's next?

The city will continue it's participation in the permitting process which is on a time line of about two years. The electric utility manager tells us the city has already committed up to $6.4 million to the North Florida Power Project. Whether the city will make it official is still undecided.

Thursday night's coal referendum results came as no surprise to Brian Lupiani with the Clean Air Coalition. The group had tried to sway voters away from coal.

Lupiani and the Clean Air Coalition believe there are other energy options out there. Kevin Wailes with Tallahassee Utilities says the city will be considering other alternatives and says the yes vote does not mean the North Florida Power Project is a done deal for Tallahassee.

Those other options, which are part of the Integrated Resource Planning Process, include Tallahassee building its own coal plant, the continued use of natural gas, and buying power from other utilities.

As for the direction Tallahassee will take, that decision will be pondered in the spring of next year.

We talked to city commissioner Allan Katz about this issue. He still stands by his opinion that the North Florida Power Project does not make economic sense for Tallahassee.