ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Utilities Commission wants to hear from you at a series of public meetings on the future of their energy.
- OUC hosting public meetings to get feedback on its energy roadmap
- Company looking to diversify energy sources, increase solar power
- OUC says with more renewable energy could come higher rates
The first of those meetings happened Monday night.
OUC is continuing its hunt for feedback on its energy roadmap, which is their plan for how they will provide their nearly 250,000 customers with power.
The company is looking to diversify their energy sources and increase their solar power, with the addition of two 500-acre solar farms, which would go live in 2022 and 2023.
“We’re absolutely taking a very strong drive towards sustainability and reducing some of that carbon footprint,” said Tim Trudell, an OUC spokesperson.
Raquel Fernandez with the Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group, says they’ve been part of a coalition pushing Orlando to go clean with their energy for some time now.
“It was a group of other organizations including the NAACP (and) the League of Women voters, that actually helped push the city of Orlando to sign a ready for 100 pledge,” Fernandez said.
That commitment says the city of Orlando will run on completely clean energy by the year 2050. And Fernandez says they hope OUC will have a similar goal.
She says they especially hope part of OUC’s plan will be to close the Stanton coal plant, the subject of an ongoing lawsuit.
OUC says it's a good possibility.
“We do expect to have a timetable on the closure of that in June 2020,” Trudell said.
Orlando resident Jean Haynes says she hopes OUC will use cleaner energy to help with climate change. But her main concern is keeping power bills affordable.
“I know that climate change is very important but cost is also at the top of the list,” Haynes said.
OUC says with more renewable energy could come higher rates.
“Traditionally solar has been much more expensive and finding a way to back that up in the grid has been tough,” Trudell said.
But Fernandez says renewable energy will be much cheaper for the region and our planet in the long-run.
“Renewable energy is way cheaper than investing in pollution or a plant that will actually hurt the environment more,” Fernandez said.
OUC wants to complete the roadmap by June 2020.
There will be two more public meetings, which you can find info here.