Tomorrow, April 10, Miami-Dade Commissioners have an opportunity to set a new course for the County’s critical water and energy infrastructure needs. Each member of the commission should vote yes to move forward with the innovative and timely private-public collaboration proposed by FPL and County staff, endorsed by Mayor Gimenez and unanimously approved by the Chairman’s Council.In a nutshell, commission approval of two “joint participation agreements” will enable the County and FPL to flesh out plans that will curtail more than 100 million gallons of sewage water dumped into the waters just off our shores every day – a situation politely referred to as “ocean outfall.” Instead, this water would be sent to a high-teach water treatment facility where it would be cleaned before being reused at the canals that cool Turkey Point.
I am aware that no one likes the idea of cooling canals. But as the Mayor has said, cooling towers are not feasible. And shutting down Turkey Point isn’t an option. It feeds millions of Miamians with carbon-free, relatively cheap power around-the-clock. The canals have challenges, no doubt. I’m glad FPL is being forced to clean them up. This plan will help while dealing with an even bigger mess. The use of treated wastewater to support our energy needs makes sense.
The collaboration also calls for the installation of more than one million solar panels across Miami-Dade at large solar farms and in smaller solar installations – some that even float in water. It will also explore using battery storage to power parts of the Metrorail system.
These proposals offer real promise toward transforming Miami-Dade County into a resilient community that embraces innovative technologies and environmental protections. Most of all, it show that we can put petty politics aside, roll up our sleeves and work together to improve the community our children will inherit.